Hindsight is a wonderful thing and little over a season and a half ago, Sunderland couldn’t have possibly envisaged where they’d be right now.
The players starring for them, Josh Maja, George Honeyman and Lynden Gooch, were all unlikely to taste top flight football. The Black Cats were a Premier League staple and even though they struggled every year, survival seemed to be attainable.
Now they’re in League One, experiencing what many would call ‘real’ football. Tough, sparse grounds. Hard, organised teams. Bitterly cold nights in windswept corners of the UK they never thought they’d have to visit.
There are benefits from time in League One for big clubs. One only has to look at Southampton, Leicester and Wolves to understand how it can be a springboard.
Winning is a habit and focusing on developing players, not buying them, can pay dividends. Look at Southampton with Lallana or Leicester with Vardy. The same could happen for Gooch or Honeyman.
Had Sunderland not got rid of these three too early, they might just be thriving right now as well.
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