Saturday 16 December 2017

Match of the Day pundits miss significance of John O'Shea recall

The Irish veteran was guilty of some howlers last term but regular observers say that their defensive record would have been much worse without his organisation ability which came to the fore in the relegation escape
The Irish veteran was guilty of some howlers last term but regular observers say that their defensive record would have been much worse without his organisation ability which came to the fore in the relegation escape
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Viewers of Match of the Day who don't follow Sunderland closely would have watched Saturday's show and presumed that John O'Shea had figured in the two heavy defeats that kicked off his club's season.

Pundits Sam Allardyce and Alan Shearer managed to analyse the Black Cats defensive improvement without referencing Dick Advocaat's decision to recall O'Shea after his side shipped seven goals in drubbings to Leicester and Norwich.

The Irish veteran was guilty of some howlers last term but regular observers say that their defensive record would have been much worse without his organisation ability which came to the fore in the relegation escape.

That theory was borne out in a draw with Swansea where the Black Cats looked to be a tighter unit. Advocaat's decision to go with Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Coates for the opening fortnight bred chaos. Another fight with the drop is likely and O'Shea will be in the thick of it. Advocaat's involvement is less certain.

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