As soon as we heard the result of the “behind closed doors” friendly with Newcastle United – why do I always type it initially as Untied? – Mags were all over social media saying we’d only beaten their reserves.
OK, Keegan and SuperMac were absent. There was little sign of Shearer, Ferdinand, Beardsley, Rob Lee or even Solano, let alone Milburn and other proper Tyneside heroes of long ago.
But who exactly went out in a ghostly Stadium of Light, all stands empty, in Sunderland colours to win 6-0? Big Sam’s finest or a hotchpotch of old and new, young and old? Well, we know Duncan Watmore, Steven Fletcher and Jack Rodwell were there as they scored, respectively, 3-2-1. You be the judge on the complete team…
From the Sunderland Echo, comes this
Allardyce named a strong Sunderland side with hot prospect Jordan Pickford in goal behind a back four of Adam Matthews, centre-back pairing of new signing Jan Kirchhoff and Thomas Beadling and Spurs loanee DeAndre Yedlin at left-back.
The midfield trio was Jack Rodwell, Ola Toivonen and Liam Agnew, with Duncan Watmore, Steven Fletcher and Dame N’Doye the front three.
Fellow new signing, veteran goalkeeper Steve Harper, watched on from the stands.
So that’s Pickford: Matthews, Kirchhoff, Beadling, Yedlin; Rodwell, Toivonen, Agnew; Watmore, Fletcher and new man Dame N’Doye.
Which gives a new look to suggestions that Newcastle did as well as might be expected when using such fringe players as Steven “Cheat” Taylor, Yoan Gouffran, Jamaal Lascelles, Sylvain Marveaux and Karl Darlow.
Unless, of course, Sam has found the way forward and out of relegation trouble.
We should add in fairness that Steven McClaren, on all accounts to be believed or not, still feels his Lads “played magnificently and just lacked the rub of the green”.