Sunderland’s senior stars to get run out in u21s

Sunderland AFC Head Coach Gus Poyet pictured in training at the Academy of Light.
Sunderland AFC Head Coach Gus Poyet pictured in training at the Academy of Light.
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GUS Poyet says he wants to use Sunderland’s U21 squad to bring through senior players and help them with their fitness.

The new head coach signalled on his arrival that he would expect more mixing between the Under 21s and the first team, saying he planned to work closely with Under 21 coach Kevin Ball.

He told the Echo: “When they’re fit, we have a squad of 20-22 players and not everyone can play in the first team, so I would like one or two to play in the Under 21s if it is right.

“We had an Under 21 game against Chelsea today for example, which I think is massive, it’s at the Stadium of Light.

“And you have to ask that if you train all week, would you rather have a game at the end of it or just travel with the first team and not play?

“I understand it is a difficult one for the players sometimes.

“When I was 35-36 years old at Spurs, if I was asked if I fancied playing for the Reserves - no disrespect here - against West Ham at Dagenham & Redbridge say, I’d say: “Not really.”

“But then I would say that I am a professional, I am paid to play football and if you want me to play then I will play.

“Most of our players though are much younger than that and I feel they might welcome the chance to play in games - to build or maintain their fitness, and catch the eye.”

Poyet echoed Kevin Ball, during the former Sunderland captain’s time in charge as interim head coach, when he said: “I think it is important at a club for the younger and the senior players to mix anyway and I hope that this way will be productive.”