Sunderland’s Young Stars Could Be Unleashed Against Wigan Athletic

Strikerless Sunderland head into their game at home to Wigan Athletic on the back of three draws and one defeat from the last four outings. Head coach Tony Mowbray will be looking at ways to get his side back to winning ways as without his two main strikers in Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms, Mowbray has struggled to find a solution to their lack of firepower. So far he has been reluctant to start Sunderland’s young stars who were brought in during the transfer window. Now may be the time they are unleashed.

Read More: Sunderland Cult Heroes Part One and Sunderland Cult Heroes Part Two

Time For Tony Mowbray to Unleash Sunderland’s Young Stars

Abdoullah Ba and Edouard Michut Could Replace Suspended Captain 

Captain Corry Evans collected his fifth yellow card of the season during the defeat at Swansea City last weekend. The result being that he will miss the game against Wigan through suspension. Who will replace Evans has caused much debate.

Tony Mowbray could opt to use the more experienced Dan Neil or Jay Matete in the captain’s holding role in central midfield or decide to use one of Sunderland’s new summer signings.

Abdullah Ba is a graduate of the Le Harve academy which has produced stars such as Paul Pogba, Lassana Diarra, Dmitri Payet and Riyad Mahrez. Ba has impressed when coming on as a substitute in recent weeks with his direct, all-action style. The youngster was a standout performer in a recent U21 game against Leeds United and it could only be a matter of time before his first start for the first team.

Technician Michut Could Get Start

Fellow Frenchman Edouard Michut who signed from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer is alos . Technically gifted, Michut is a different type of player to Evans; however, his ability to keep hold of the ball and create opportunities could tempt Tony Mowbray into giving him a start against a Wigan team who like to have control of the ball themselves.

Following the U21 game against Leeds earlier this week head coach Tony Mowbray gave his thoughts on the young Frenchman. He said: “My dilemmas really are around, do we replace Corry with a real technician? So if you saw the U21 games on Monday night against Leeds United, Edouard Michut showed what a lovely footballer is, passing the ball between the lines. He was competitive in the game and I think he covered 13 kilometres as well.

“He showed me there that he’s not far away from a first-team footballer. Wigan’s main strength is getting the ball out wide and putting it in your box, they’re dangerous with that and the best way to stop that is probably to keep the ball off them, so do we need a lot of technical players to keep the ball?

Jewison Bennette or Amad Diallo Could Get Chance on the Wing 

With Tony Mowbray considering playing winger Jack Clarke as a striker, a role he scored from at Swansea City, a position on the wing could open up for one of Sunderland’s young stars. Jewison Bennette, the flying Costa Rican who is expected to feature at the World Cup has impressed when coming on as a substitute. The 18-year-old earned his new side a point at Watford when scoring a late equaliser and has also endeared himself to fans further by getting a bus home with them following the recent home game against Preston North End.

The more likely option that Mowbray will go far is loan signing Amad Diallo. The Manchester United winger is the more experienced of the two having featured for United and gaining valuable experience on loan at Scottish giants Rangers last season.

Diallo has been used as a striker recently; however, his inexperience in this role has shown. A return to a more natural wide position could bring out the best in him. It appears that Mowbray agrees. The head coach said: “I do think he prefers to play off the right-hand side, cutting on his left foot.

“I watched him a lot at Rangers last season and played off the right. I don’t think he’s the kind of centre forward who plays off the shoulder, waiting patiently for the chance to burst in behind. He wants to get on the ball, chop onto that left foot. It’s about trying to change habits of a lifetime with some of the players at the moment.

Mowbray Reluctant to Give Max Thompson a Chance 

Former Burnley striker Max Thompson, signed on a free transfer during the summer has been in fine form for the club’s under-23 side. Many believed with Tony Mowbray being without a first-team striker, the  20-year-old would be given a chance. However, the man in charge has not been convinced it is the right time for the forward to be promoted.

Following calls for Thompson to be included in the first-team squad for the home game against Wigan, Mowbray spoke about the youngster. He said: “I’m just a bit wary of the critical nature of the position and exposing a player to it. I know that he has played in the Premier League with Burnley but right now does look a little bit young and raw to me.

“I believe strikers are all about positional play, knowing where to go on the pitch and knowing the capabilities of players on the ball and what type of pass they are going to play. When I watch him in training, I think he needs to learn these things, he’s almost a bit too honest at the moment in his movements.

“The great strikers find space in the box and young players need to learn that, and that’s where Max is at the moment.”

Bringing in all of Sunderland’s young stars would be unlikely; however, with suspensions, injuries and a change in position for at least one player, fans could see at least two of their new summer signings starting against Wigan.