3 minute read
28/4/2022 | 05:10pm
Sunderland chief Kristjaan Speakman is facing a number of big decisions on the make-up of the playing squad heading into the summer.
He will need to work closely with Alex Neil in the coming weeks to decide on the players they will be offering new contracts to as a number of deals are set to expire later this year.
Excluding loans, Jordan Willis, Lee Burge, Patrick Roberts, Arbenit Xhemajli, Lynden Gooch, Bailey Wright and Aiden McGeady are all out of contract in July.
Does Wright deserve a new deal?
One player he must avoid a major disaster with is central defender Wright as losing the Australian would be a huge blow to the side.
He has played in 36 of the club’s 45 League One games to date and averaged a solid SofaScore rating of 6.85 – with his average being dragged down by nine outings as a substitute.
Last term, Wright averaged an excellent rating of 7.05 as he started 35 games in the division. He won a whopping 61% of his duels throughout the campaign and made 4.6 clearances per match as he proved himself to be a quality option in the third tier.
Black Cats legend Kevin Phillips previously dubbed him as the club’s own Virgil van Dijk, saying:
“He’s been a great signing. I don’t know the player, but I just get the feeling that he’s a leader and a voice in the dressing room.
“Sometimes the manager can only say so much and then you want of your senior experience players to pipe up and put a few people in their place and give encouragement and be a leader. He seems like that.
“The stats just show what an important player he is. He’s almost to Sunderland what van Dijk is to Liverpool at the moment with those incredible stats.”
His aforementioned statistics back up Phillips’ praise as he has been ‘incredible’ for the Black Cats in League One with his consistently solid displays at centre-back. He is a reliable, top-class, option for Neil to call upon at the back and the Scottish coach will surely want him to remain at the Stadium of Light next season.
Wright still has plenty left to give at the age of 29 and Speakman must now avoid a major blunder by offering the Australian international a fresh contract to secure his future on Wearside.
AND in other news, Big boost: Neil “hopeful” of huge Sunderland lift that’ll have supporters buzzing…