Former Leeds defender Laurens De Bock has claimed that his new club, Sunderland, have similarities with his former employers in an interview with the Chronicle.
The Belgian left back is in contention for his first start this weekend as Sunderland travel to face Accrington Stanley in League One, with regular football very much on the player’s mind.
He struggled to impress himself on the Leeds first team and last season played for Oostende in Belgium. He claims that a spell with the Champions League outfit Club Brugge, as well as the time spent at Leeds, stands him in good stead for his Sunderland experience.
“I think there are similarities here with Leeds, with the club and the fans,” he said.
“Everybody is telling me that when we play away a lot of fans come and it was the same at Leeds. Most of the clubs I’ve played for have big fanbases.
“Brugge are one of the biggest clubs in Belgium so I don’t really feel pressure from that. I think that’s why everybody plays football, to play in full stadiums and I think I play a little bit better when the pressure is there, so I like it.”
De Bock began his career with Lokeren before the move to Brugge. He represented his country up to Under 21 level, but has fallen down the pecking order at Leeds and left on a season-long loan on deadline day.
There are similarities between Leeds and Sunderland; both are perhaps ‘bigger’ clubs than many in the top flight, but neither seems to be able to get back to where they feel they belong.
The crowds at Elland Road and the Stadium of Light are certainly passionate, but they bring an added pressure with them. Fail to achieve, or to live up to their expectations, and they soon turn on you.
De Bock might well have experience of Brugge and Leeds, but in fairness, the expectation in Belgium wasn’t as heavy as they were in the top flight. He barely got a game for Leeds either, so this is going to be an interesting spell for him.