Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman has given an insight into the process that goes with signing new players, as he admitted they do look at whether the individual will be able to cope with the pressure of joining the club.
The Black Cats ended a four-year stay in League One by beating Wycombe in the play-off final last month at Wembley.
Whilst it was a collective effort, there’s no doubt smarter recruitment played a part to help the Wearside over the line.
And, speaking to the Northern Echo, Speakman explained the process of bringing players in, as he revealed the demands that come with playing at the Stadium of Light are factored in.
“We spent a lot of time in player recruitment discussing around ‘someone could be old but they’ve not played’. For example, take Sunderland. Last year in League One, we’re playing in front of 35,000 people.
“We’re taking an experienced player but in actual fact, they’ve never played in front of that amount of people. So their experiences, even though they are 28, aren’t really relevant for this scenario. But you might take Jack Clarke who has played for Leeds in front of a really lively crowd, under pressure and at Tottenham. Then you go ‘he’ll be absolutely comfortable in that environment’.”
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This is a good insight from Speakman and it shows how things can differ from club to club, and there’s no denying that he got it right in the past 12 months on the whole with Sunderland.
Everyone knows the demands, which are a positive, that come with playing for Sunderland, particularly in League One, so you do need strong characters.
Things change somewhat in the Championship but the fans will have faith in Speakman and Alex Neil getting things right once again to ensure they have a memorable season.
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