Lynden Gooch and Luke O’Nien at the end of the game.

The Sunderland end-of-season player grades and what they tell us about the major rebuild ahead

Sunderland’s long and bruising campaign ended in bitter disappointment on Saturday as the Black Cats were knocked out of the play off semi finals by Lincoln City.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 5:07 pm

A gruelling 58-game campaign featured two managers, a major takeover, a Wembley win and yet more significant upheaval in the playing squad.

A relatively sluggish start to the season left Sunderland well off the pace by the time a COVID-19 outbreak disrupted their progress even further at the start of 2021.

Despite a raft of defensive injuries under Lee Johnson the Black Cats surged to the brink of the top two, only to fall away with a desperately poor run of form at the crucial moment.

With only 12 players currently under contract for next season, and some of those facing uncertain futures, a significant summer rebuild is expected by all on Wearside.

Johnson has vowed to build on the intense pressing of the first half at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, which helped build on an already outstanding atmosphere in front of 10,000 fans at the Stadium of Light.

With that in mind, and with the disappointment of three failed attempts to win promotion fresh in the memory, the club are facing a number of significant calls with regards to the playing squad for next season.

As it stands, there are 11 players whose contract is currently set to expire at the end of June.

Here, we review the performances of each player to feature in the club’s senior squad next season, to assess how they fared and what the future might hold...

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