Tony Mowbray sets challenge for his Sunderland dressing room after deadline-day departures

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Tony Mowbray has set a challenge for his established players after some key departures

Tony Mowbray has challenged his Sunderland players to step up and show their leadership abilities after the departures of experienced pair Danny Batth and Lynden Gooch on deadline day.

Batth was allowed to move to Norwich City while Lynden Gooch joined Alex Neil at Stoke City for an undisclosed fee.

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While both had lost their place in the starting XI during the early weeks of the Championship season, they were key figures in the team last year and were a key part of Mowbray's leadership group behind the scenes.

Mowbray paid tribute to the contribution both had made, and says he will now look to the next generation to step up and follow their example.

"I do believe that an experienced head helps young players make better decisions," Mowbray said.

"While you can coach them, football really happens in the dressing room and training ground. The old saying, you're only as good as the senior pros in your dressing room, because they drive standards: don't be late for the meeting, get those boots on, get out there and train, otherwise young footballers will be on their phone constantly scrolling. I'm not spending all my days telling the lads to be out for training, it's the senior pros who drive standards.

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"If you're not winning and the standards are really low, people start saying there's no discipline in that club. You have to drive it from inside, so you do need senior pros.

"This is an opportunity for me to say people like Lynden Gooch and Danny Batth have been amazing for this football club. And I should put it on record, my one year, amazing footballers and amazing men who know what football is all about and I wish them well in their future careers.

"Because of the void that's been created, some of these young lads have to step up now. Who is driving it? We're fortunate to still have Luke O'Nien at the club, who is an amazing human being, I've told you in the past.

"But some of the young lads now have an opportunity to be captain material. Jack Clarke is always moaning at me, gaffer am I vice captain?? Who is going to fill the voids of the senior players who have left the football club and there's an opportunity there."

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Despite stressing the importance of experience Mowbray says he knows he is working with some hugely-talented players after watching them secure an impressive 5-0 win against Southampton.

"That's why I said earlier that I don't moan, I don't go into Kristjaan's office and bang my feet," Mowbray said.

"I know the quality of the footballers.

"Stuart Harvey needs to be mentioned as well, he's head of recruitment and he finds these players. My job is to just give them an opportunity and to try and mould them really.

"Quality is quality. As I keep saying to them, I'm not a master coach. I'm not Pep Guardiola who has all these amazing ways of playing and tinkers with this and that, I'm a football manager who gets in the mind of footballers and tries to give them inspiration to maximise their career.

"I have some wonderful coaches working with me and together we find a formula."

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