Micky Gray has slammed Sunderland’s underperforming squad - claiming half of them wouldn’t even get into a Championship team.
The former left-back also hit out at chairman Ellis Short, pleading with the American to plough more money into the squad before the end of the transfer window.
In an explosive interview, Gray described the 3-1 defeat to Norwich City at the Stadium of Light as one of the worst in living memory.
And Gray - who played more than 350 games for the Black Cats - believes some of the players are “frightened” to play in front of the home fans.
Gray said: “Ellis Short has got to invest money in the squad.
“The TV rights for the next three years are around £150million – Ellis Short needs to go and spend it.
“You bring in Sebastian Coates and Younes Kaboul from Liverpool and Tottenham respectively and they are not good enough.
“Patrick van Aanholt was absolutely horrendous at the weekend – I have never seen a performance like it in my life.
“Jermain Defoe - why leave the Premier League and go to Toronto? Because in the back of your mind you are thinking you couldn’t do it in the Premier League every week.
“What I saw at the weekend was so inept, half of the players I wouldn’t put in a Championship side.
“I don’t know how many I would keep. I think I would keep the goalkeeper, the two central midfield players, Lee Cattermole and Yann M’Vila, but the rest of them I wouldn’t give them the shirt on their back.”
Reflecting on the reverse to Norwich, Gray said he “couldn’t believe” what he was watching.
Sadly, it was all too familiar for Sunderland fans.
Gray added: “I have seen some pretty inept performances over the last three years but that was the lowest of the low, it really was,” Gray told talkSPORT.
“I’m not saying I was brilliant every week, because I wasn’t, but what I would do is give 100 per cent.
“That is what the fans expect and when they don’t get that they give out a bit of criticism and the players can’t handle it.
“The shirt is too big for them. They are frightened to play at the Stadium of Light.”