‘You’ve just got to question…’ – How should Lee Johnson use potential new Sunderland arrival? The verdict | OneFootball

‘You’ve just got to question…’ – How should Lee Johnson use potential new Sunderland arrival? The verdict

Logo: Football League World

Football League World

This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Experienced striker Jermaine Defoe has admitted that he could join Sunderland this month after leaving Rangers by mutual agreement.

Defoe scored 37 goals in 93 appearances during his previous spell with the Black Cats and remains a firm fan favourite at the Stadium of Light.

But if he rejoined the North East club, would he be a guaranteed starter?

Our FLW writers share their thoughts…

Can you name which club Sunderland signed these 28 defenders from?

1 of 28

1. Dion Sanderson

Birmingham City Wolves Aston Villa West Brom

Alfie Burns

Probably not a guaranteed starter, but he’d get his opportunities.

We know that Defoe’s level is above League One and that’s something that he’s consistently proved across a long, long career.

However, at 39, you just can’t expect him to play games week in, week out in the third-tier.

It’s a level that’s becoming increasingly competitive and you’ve just got to question whether his body is up to the demands.

There’s a role for him, though, within Lee Johnson’s squad of players.

Defoe is so experienced and bringing someone of his calibre off the bench when you need a goal is quite a frightening prospect.

It’s a signing that will give everyone at the Stadium of Light a lift, even if it doesn’t always directly impact the starting line-up.

Josh Cole

Although Defoe possesses a wealth of experience, he may initially find it difficult to force his way into Sunderland’s starting eleven due to the presence of Ross Stewart.

The Black Cats forward has taken his game to new heights this season as he has already managed to find the back of the net on 18 occasions in the third-tier.

Currently averaging a club-high WhoScored match rating of 7.60 in League One, Stewart is likely to feature on a regular basis during the remainder of the campaign.

Defoe meanwhile could be used as a viable alternative to Stewart by Johnson as his presence may prevent the possibility of the 25-year-old from burning out in the latter stages of the season.

Charlie Gregory

You’d have to think that based on his previous goalscoring experience, he’d certainly be in consideration for a starting spot.

If the Black Cats didn’t have Ross Stewart firing them in regularly up top, it would be nailed on. However, the Scotland man has been in fine form this year, so unless the two play alongside each other it would be unfair to cast him aside for Defoe.

The former Tottenham and Portsmouth man certainly still knows where the back of the net and at this level, he could certainly still do a very good job upfront. All it will likely take for him to nail down a starting berth is for Stewart to falter one week – which means that the Scotland man may have added incentive to now be even better, which can only benefit Sunderland.

If there is room for two in attack at Sunderland though, then Defoe will definitely be straight in the mix – and alongside Stewart, it could be one of the best partnerships in the division.

Mentioned in this article

View publisher imprint