'Technical ability and athleticism' - Sunderland take former PSV defender Wouter Verstraaten on trial
Sunderland have been taking a closer look at South Shields and ex-PSV Eindhoven central defender Wouter Verstraaten.
The 23-year-old remains a Shields player but has been allowed to spend time training at the Academy of Light as part of a trial.
The highly-rated defender came through the ranks of Eredivisie giants PSV Eindhoven and can play anywhere across the back line and in midfield.
Verstraaten, who has also played for FC Eindhoven, Pacific Tigers and Portland Timbers’ Under-23s, moved to England to study at Durham University.
When Verstraaten signed for Shields in January, joint manager Graham Fenton said: “He’s someone we’ve been keeping an eye on for a few months now.
“Myself, Lee Picton, Brian Smith and Wess Brown have all watched him on a number of occasions and been extremely impressed with his technical ability and athleticism, which we feel will compliment our squad extremely well.
“He is a hugely versatile player as he can play anywhere across the back and anywhere across the midfield."
Phil Parkinson revealed to the Echo on Thursday he is considering signing a free agent with Bailey Wright unlikely to play again this season.
Wright suffered ankle ligament damage in the latter stages of the 1-0 win over Oxford United and is set to be out for eight to 12 weeks.
It is not yet clear whether Verstraaten would be considered as a viable option to go straight into the first team squad or whether the club is just taking a closer look ahead of a possible future move.