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Manager's impressed by energy of Gooch.

Byline: Stuart Rayner

EVEN with very little wriggle room afforded to him by ten first-team absentees, Chris Coleman still sprang a surprise in his first game as Sunderland manager.

And he was impressed by the energy 21-year-old forward Lynden Gooch brought to the Black Cats' midfield in their 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa.

With Lee Cattermole suspended, Jonny Williams set to undergo shoulder surgery, Jack Rodwell joining him and Didier Ndong on the injured list after Monday's training session, and Paddy McNair rested as a precaution having played his first 90 minutes since returning from cruciate knee ligament damage on Saturday, the heart of Coleman's first team had an unfamiliar look.

Darron Gibson was the anchorman in a 4-1-4-1 formation, but it was the selection of George Honeyman and particularly Gooch in front of him which was unusual.

"He's more of a No.10, isn't he?" said Coleman when asked his thinking. "But we haven't got any more midfielders left.

"Goochy played in a different type of position for us but ran his socks off. The energy levels - him and Honeyman ran their socks off I think, and Gibbo in central midfield by himself, really. He was the only really naturally holding central midfield player (available). They maxed out and that's it.

"But after the boys we had on the pitch, there was no one else. Gibbo was really the only holding midfielder we'd got left, and those were our options."

Although 23-year-old Honeyman is a central midfielder by trade, Simon Grayson used him mainly out wide and American international Gooch as a centreforward or winger.

Cattermole will be back for Saturday's trip to Burton Albion and although McNair was limping with a knee problem towards the end of the 2-2 draw with Millwall, the Black Cats will hope he is fit.

Whether the experiment with Gooch is anything more than a needs-must one-off remains to be seen.

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Lynden Gooch of Sunderland

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 23, 2017
Words:324
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