Comment - U-turns on Sunderland pair Brown and Reveillere shows Advocaat impact

Wes Brown
Wes Brown

Since Dick Advocaat’s U-turn over taking charge of Sunderland, it has all gone a bit quiet on Wearside.

There has been no grand second unveiling of Advocaat, nor a sweeping cluster of Dutch-based signings following the 67-year-old to the Stadium of Light.

Reveillere’s departure has arguably been more dramatic than Brown’s retention after Sunderland had agreed personal terms with the former France international

But away from the limelight, Advocaat is making his presence felt. The complete change of heart over the Sunderland futures of Wes Brown and Anthony Reveillere is testament to that.

When the season climaxed, Sunderland’s plan was to release Brown (despite the ex-England international’s desire to prolong his playing career by a year) and hand Reveillere a 12 month contract extension.

It was felt that Sunderland could only incorporate one veteran among their central defensive options, while Reveillere had proved since his Bosman arrival that he still boasted the capability to operate in either full-back position at the top level.

But Advocaat’s return has prompted a U-turn for both players.

Brown’s one-year contract extension has raised eyebrows among some supporters, yet the ex-Manchester United man will now be operating in an experienced back-up role, rather than as a first-team regular with John O’Shea.

Sunderland remain in the market for two new centre-halves this summer – likely to be Sebastian Coates, plus potentially Virgil van Dijk – with Brown and John O’Shea complementing the pair of fresh faces.

A new deal for Brown certainly implies that Santiago Vergini could be offloaded too, despite Sunderland being duty-bound to sign the Argentine international.

Reveillere’s departure has arguably been more dramatic than Brown’s retention after Sunderland had agreed personal terms with the former France international.

The contract extension was simply being held up by the appointment of the new head coach, yet when that turned out to be Advocaat after all, it spelled curtains for the 35-year-old.

In Advocaat’s 4-3-3 system, he wants his full-backs to get forward, provide the width and have the energy levels to get up and down the pitch.

The question mark over Reveillere has clearly been whether he has the legs for that role anymore, rather than his capabilities as a defender.

With Advocaat preferring Billy Jones in the right-back slot for all-bar-one of his nine games in charge last season, the Dutchman obviously had his reservations.

But Reveillere’s exit puts Sunderland in the market for at least one full-back, together with a couple of centre-halves, before they’ve even looked at the priorities further up the field.