Keir Bradwell was late but not as late as the editor suspected. Just in time for it to appear before the Birmingham City game, his player-by-player assessment of Sunderland’s home debut landed. Here, then, are one young fan’s marks out of 10. Try to remember, this is a subjective exercise. You are not required to agree with all or even any of them …
Mannone – 8
Clearly inspired by Neuer at the World Cup, Mannone was spectacular at times with slide tackles outside the area, was confident and assured—dealing with almost everything thrown at him by Manchester United’s attack.
Vergini – 7
Excellent. Good going forward, solid at the back, with some nice touches of skill when in possession too. Hopefully he’ll start putting performances in like this more consistently over the season.
Brown – 7
Absolutely immense defensively, but sloppy with the ball. It wasn’t a perfect display from Brown, but a good one nonetheless. Showing no sign of worsening with age.
O’Shea – 6
Let himself down with poor defending for their goal – although van Aanholt and Larsson are arguably more to blame – as he really should’ve cleared it for a corner. Other than that though, a decent performance.
van Aanholt – 7
While he was beaten for their goal – just like last week, van Aanholt seemed to be a lot better defensively than previously. Not only that, but his pace was a huge asset throughout the game and he made some vital blocks when Manchester United had a long spell of possession towards the end of the second half.
Larsson – 5
Given him a five for the assist alone. He was really poor for quite a bit of the game. Not entirely, and he made an important contribution in our equaliser, but was very wasteful in defence, often too slow, frustrating and looked a bit clueless at times.
Cattermole – 9
What a player he is becoming. An absolutely brilliant performance yet again has seen him touted for the England squad, and rightly so. Is the beating heart of our team, and long may these performances continue.
Rodwell – 7
Scored a great goal (from a corner!) and followed it up with an excellent performance all-round. Isn’t fully match fit yet but once he is, I think we can expect big things from our marquee signing.
Buckley – 9
Phenomenal. Absolutely rapid, beat his man, and had an excellent final ball too. Hacked to the ground by United’s defence, but how else are you going to deal with someone that quick? He even helped out in defence when needed too. My man of the match, despite how well Cattermole did.
Wickham – 8
Cracking. Had an excellent game, using his newly-built physical presence to out-muscle their defenders. His shooting was a bit off but aside from that, did very well.
Fletcher – 5
Failed to make an impact. The most notable element of his performance was a failed bicycle kick. Not much to say on him, really.
Gomez – 6
Got stuck in, struggled to adapt to the game. Looked OK, but should maybe start against Birmingham for match time.
Altidore – 7
How strong has he become? Only on for a short amount of time but waltzed through their midfield a few times, never scoring but looking a lot better than he has previously. Convinced he’ll come good. One goal and he’ll get his confidence back.
Bridcutt – 5
Didn’t make any real impact.