It is probably fair to say that this season, Sunderland’s new goalkeepers have flattered to deceive.
Maybe it is because we are too used to the sight of Jordan Pickford pulling off wonder saves and ultimately saving us points, or maybe it’s because the three goalkeepers we’ve signed this season just aren’t good enough between the sticks.
The truth is, on too many occasions, the goalkeepers who have been tried and tested by both Chris Coleman and Simon Grayson this season have made silly mistakes which has cost us both points and momentum.
So, let’s start with the new-boy. Lee Camp. It may be unfair to blame Camp for the situation we find ourselves in, but he hasn’t shown any signs of being the answer to all Black Cats fans’ goalkeeping worries.
Coleman started with five-at-the-back against Bolton last night in a game we quite frankly had to win – and his plan was clear, defend well and stay in the game, something we haven’t done all season. But as a free kick fell through the flapping hands of Camp, that plan went out of the window.
Camp did make one good save from Adam Le Fondre’s header, but ultimately his only mistake in the game was a fatal one for the lads last night. Despite his costly mistake, you’d still fully expect him to be in goal on Saturday, ahead of Jason Steele.
Moving onto the man who was on the Sunderland bench last night and in my opinion one of the worst goalkeepers we’ve ever had at this club – Jason Steele. From his kicking, to commanding of his box and even shot stopping, Steele’s best asset is yet to be revealed.
The game against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup back in January was the point of no return for the 27-year-old and his near move to Derby in the January transfer window was quite frankly bizarre.
But is there any way back for the former Middlesbrough man? Maybe, yes. If he gets his chance, which he probably will given the amount of rotation between the sticks so far this season, he must prove himself.
Finally, Robin Ruiter – arguably the most frustrating performer of the three. Ruiter showed great promise pre-season, when he was played as a trialist. He was later signed and has had a few good games for us. However, what seems to be a feature of our current goalkeeping problems, the 30-year-old has made too many mistakes at vital moments in our season.
The biggest mistakes came at home to Milwall, when the Dutchman failed to keep hold of two identical free kicks. The game ended 2-2 that day, with neither keeper covering themselves in glory.
To summarise, there’s clearly been points in the season so far where our goalkeepers quite frankly have not been good enough. However, if you don’t score, you don’t win and our inability to break teams down once we go behind has been a frightening reoccurrence that could see Sunderland fall into the third tier of English football.
And, yeah, feel free to (gulp) tweet me…