Sunderland’s core of experienced Premier League players will be Sam Allardyce’s “leaders” on the pitch, insists the new boss.
Speaking ahead of his first game in charge of the Black Cats at West Brom this weekend, Allardyce says he will be relying heavily on his elder statesmen including the likes of John O’Shea and Lee Cattermole.
Sunderland signed eight new players in the summer and Allardyce believes one of his main challenges is to get the new players and established squad members “gelling” quickly.
Allardyce added: “The players who are here, particularly the ones with Premier League experience, [we need to] draw on that.
“I will be asking them to be the leaders on the field.
“The one problem you have with any squad is the number of changes that occur in the summer.
“It is about gelling all the new players together so they understand each other more and produce as a team.
“They are in a relatively positive frame of mind.
“It is about how best can I get them to play individually and collectively and not let them get exposed as they have done recently,” Allardyce told the club’s website.
Allardyce, who met the media this afternoon for the first time, insists he is up to the challenge of saving Sunderland from relegation with the side currently second bottom and five points from safety.
And Allardyce, who has been working as a pundit and on his autobiography since leaving West Ham in the summer, is looking forward to the task facing him.
He added: “Meeting Ellis Short was a great meeting and one of the main reasons why I took up the challenge.”