Waiting Game

Jack Ross has explained he is willing to give youth a chance, as he looks to build a dynamic team. He has used his former club St. Mirren as an example. “I had a team last year that won the league consistently having probably five regular starters that were 21 and under. I know it’s a different league, but it was good. They were good players and they just developed a mentality that they were used to winning games. But they were heavily supported by players in key areas that had been over the course and had played at English Championship level or Scottish Premiership level, knew the game and thrived under that responsibility and fed off the energy of those players. The young ones should give you energy and dynamism and all of these things, that should be a given for them, along with that hunger to try and impress and progress their careers. But unless you get very, very lucky it’s a lot to do that with a whole team.”

Ross also touched on his recruitment psychology: “There’s an identification of players that fit the style you want to play, that’s a key aspect of it [recruitment]. Nowadays you get an awful lot of good players offered to you on a daily basis, but you have to make sure it’s a good player that fits with your style and secondly, can deal with the circumstances your club is in, and it is a challenging one here. That process began in earnest Friday, but it’s one that I think we can manage and get a squad that can win promotion from this league. There’s no point looking too far ahead, League One is the challenge we have to face first. We need to have that discussion as a club as to who will be here and who won’t, for various reasons. It’s key to a club being successful [players who want to be there], especially in a league like this. There will be some who at the moment are unconvinced and it might be up to me to try and convince them, others may have already made their mind up.”

Former SAFC coach Kit Symons has given his verdict on Ovie Ejaria's loan move to Rangers, describing the SOL as 'toxic'. "If he was going straight from Liverpool Under-23s to Rangers then it would be a bit of a shock. But Sunderland is a big club as well and there’s a lot of pressure - especially at the Stadium of Light which was toxic at times. He came into us and did okay. It’s a big step from Under-23s football to the Championship and he found the adjustment difficult, as all young players would do. But he certainly got better and more of an understanding as his loan period went on."

In other news, John O’Shea has been chatting about his decision play on for one more year and join Reading. O’Shea said: “I’m delighted to get it done. The last couple of weeks, I’ve been speaking to the manager and getting a feel for the place. I’m looking forward to getting started now. People were aware I was going to be out of contract; a few calls were made and I was thankfully able to speak to the manager. He got his ideas across and it was important for me to hear that ambition and get his thoughts. I worked with him a good few years ago with the Irish Under-21s and when he was with the senior team for a few games and I saw how much of an impressive coach he was, and person too, so the chance to work for him again was important. He will bring us fantastic levels of experience and proven leadership qualities. We looked very carefully at John’s recent playing statistics and he played a total of 40 games for Sunderland last season; he is still incredibly fit and a hugely motivated individual. So, we look forward to him being a big contributor out on the pitch next season.”

Jack Ross has had his say on the departure of club captain John' O'Shea to Reading: "Whilst I didn’t work directly with John, everyone at the club speaks so highly of him, both as a player and a man. Coming from Manchester United, where he was schooled by Sir Alex, has clearly shaped him into the consummate professional, on and off the field. The positive influence he had on this football club will be long remembered. On behalf of everyone at Sunderland AFC, I wish John every success in whatever he chooses to do in the future and he will always remain a special part of the club."