Kevin Phillips heaps praise on Sunderland individual following Portsmouth victory | OneFootball

Kevin Phillips heaps praise on Sunderland individual following Portsmouth victory

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Football League World

Former Sunderland icon Kevin Phillips has heaped praise on new Black Cats arrival Danny Batth following his debut performance against Portsmouth this weekend.

The 31-year-old arrived from Stoke City during the week on a 18-month contract and came with bags of Championship experience, mainly with Wolverhampton Wanderers and more recently the Potters.

And there was no qualms from Lee Johnson in putting Batth immediately in the starting line-up for Pompey’s visit to the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon as he slotted in the middle of a back three with Tom Flanagan and teenager Callum Doyle either side of him.

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According to Wyscout, Batth won four out of his five defensive duels, was successful in 11 out of his 17 aerial duels and made both five interceptions and clearances a-piece.

It was a very solid debut from the experienced centre-back and it was one that impressed Phillips, who despite managing non-league South Shields for the first time yesterday afternoon was able to catch up on Sunderland’s victory and was taken aback by how comfortable Batth looked.

“On his day, Danny is a brilliant defender,” Phillips told Football Insider.

“He is a good, solid player who has experience in the Premier League and the Championship.

“You would like to think that he will thrive in League One as he will not be facing the quality of opponents he has previously.

“I’m not surprised that he’s done well in his first game. I think it could turn out to be a shrewd bit of business.

“Sunderland have three big lads at the back in Batth, Doyle and Flanagan. They’re all very dominant.

“I think Sunderland will be a strong outfit from now until the end of the season.”

The Verdict

Batth’s arrival at Sunderland has had the immediate impact that Lee Johnson probably desired.

His presence has already helped to shore up what has been a somewhat leaky back-line recently and with his assistance the Black Cats were able to snuff out a dangerous side.

It’s signings like Batth that can be the difference between promotion and staying in League One.

Sunderland will have to bolster their options at the top end of the pitch between now and the end of January but they know that they are in safe hands now at the other end of the spectrum.

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