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“All we want from our players is to give 110%”. Mathematical impossibility aside, the notion that our fans love a trier and will support gutsy endeavour has been overwhelmingly dispelled this season with the treatment of Lynden Gooch.

That he alone was responsible for our not achieving three points against Oxford, yes he went down far too easily and not the woodwork or wayward shooting, we call it finishing now even when it isn’t, is laughable. Similarly, his MOTM performance against Morecambe, although fantastic by his standards, was not the sole reason for the three points in the bag.

From my perspective what Gooch has done is given ten or so years of great service to our club. Some of his performances, remember the stoppage time winner against Charlton which launched Jack Ross’ managerial career at Sunderland, have been immense under the most trying of circumstances. We all know he can run up blind alleys at times, but it never stops him taking on defenders. He never hides and has no little skill.

The Gods we know as social media offer a different, usually vitriolic, view to the point where Gooch, you would think, would be too scared to leave home. And he can’t win can he? His performance was excellent v Morecambe but was put down as a rarity and against a poor side. ‘Play him at left back against Plymouth and we’re doomed’ is perhaps the politest reference I saw. The point is though that Gooch is not a left back.

But being short of any other option Johnson has asked him to cover. He does not neglect his defensive duties, it just isn’t his forte. Does he complain, shy away, hide? You bet your life he doesn’t. He wears the Sunderland shirt like his life depends upon it, displays no little skill going forward and covers as much grass in 90 minutes as any other player.

I say we should respect the service he has given. I so desperately want him to score the winner on Saturday, though I doubt it will stop the opprobrium that’s been foisted on him this season.

Good luck Lynden. You may be American but you’re a Mackem through and through and I for one am grateful to you.

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