Sunderland boss: Don’t be just sub standard!

Gus Poyet
Gus Poyet

GUS POYET insists no-one in Sunderland’s squad should be content with the tag of ‘super-sub’.

The Sunderland boss has made a point of stressing the strong options available to him on the bench this season after the Black Cats’ summer recruitment drive.

Emanuele Giaccherini and Ricky Alvarez both made an impression as substitutes last month, before injuries have put the duo on the treatment table.

And even with the pair missing in Sunderland’s last game against Stoke City 10 days ago, there were three England internationals – Adam Johnson, Jack Rodwell and Wes Brown – waiting for an opportunity from the sidelines.

Poyet realises that those introduced to the fray as substitutes can be crucial, as they look to take advantage of tired legs in the opposition ranks.

But the head coach doesn’t want any of his players to be content with a spot on the bench; believing that an impressive cameo should be the incentive for gaining a regular spot in the starting XI.

Poyet said: “Sometimes it helps to be a substitute. It’s up to me to find the balance of when to play someone and when not to.

“But being a substitute can be a way to starting the game and getting into the team.

“If you’ve got 20 minutes, then show me something.

“And then when you do start a game, you need to do it as well and not become a super-sub.”

Poyet is yet to name an unchanged side this season and may tinker again with his starting XI for this weekend’s trip to Southampton, despite Sunderland recording their maiden Premier League victory prior to the international break.

The Sunderland boss may be forced to make changes, with a couple of worries at the back.

Right-back Billy Jones is an injury concern after he is understood to have limped off in a practice match against Middlesbrough at the Academy of Light last week.

Jones has impressed since coming into the starting XI, but missed the start of the campaign with a hamstring strain sustained during pre-season.

Poyet must also consider whether to hand Santiago Vergini a breather after the centre-half faced a 5,000 mile journey back to Wearside from the Far East, following his appearance for Argentina in their friendly victory over Hong Kong yesterday.