Sunderland legend Gary Bennett has this strong warning for Phil Parkinson ahead of crucial week
Sunderland legend Gary Bennett has warned Phil Parkinson against throwing Sunderland’s youngsters into the first-team fold.
Benji Kimpioka and Brandon Taylor have both taken to the field for the Black Cats in recent weeks, with the former netting a vital goal in the draw with Coventry City.
But Bennett believes Sunderland are better prioritising experience in their quest to move up the League One table.
“If you were going to throw them in, you would have thrown them in earlier,” said the former defender.
“You’d be asking a lot of these young players if you’re saying ‘we’re in the **** now, can you get us out of it?’.
“We’ve had opportunities to blood these youngsters in and you could have easily played them in games earlier on.
“Now, if you’re going to start talking about playing the likes of your Brandon Taylor and Benji Kimpioka - in high-pressured games, because that’s what they will be - these players will need to get results.
“If the results aren’t good, then all of a sudden people are going to say they aren’t good enough.”
Kimpioka in particular has been the subject of fans’ attention, with some calling for him to be thrown into the senior side.
Bennett, however, feels this wouldn’t be the correct call.
“Benji Kimpioka came on against Coventry and did well - but is he ready?
“You can only find out if you play him, but if you play him then who do you leave out?
“At this stage, Sunderland need experience.
“Phil Parkinson has to make these decisions and pick the right team to win games.”
One youngster has caught the eye in recent weeks, with Denver Hume impressing under Parkinson.
He was dropped at Gillingham, which Bennett questioning where Sunderland’s creativity comes from without their attack-minded full-back.
“The only time we look dangerous is when Denver Hume gets the ball,” he said.
“He gets the ball and brings a little bit more tempo into the game and goes past people. He’s direct and he causes one or two more problems.
“But if you take him out of the game, where else is that coming from?”