Sunderland defender Arbenit Xhemajli returned from injury in the U23s 2-1 win against Leeds United U23s in the Premier League Cup yesterday, which has drawn an excited reaction from many fans of the North East club.
The 23-year-old was something of a left-field signing in September 2020, joining from Swiss side Neuchâtel Xamax, and has been hamstrung by injury issues in his first 13 months at the Stadium of Light.
The Kosovan centre-back has featured just once for the Black Cats first-team, in an EFL Trophy game last term, and spent the majority of the past year sidelined with injuries.
Xhemajli was back in match action with the club’s U23s yesterday – starting the game and helping his side beat Leeds 2-1 in Premier League Cup Group E.
Goals from Cameron Jessup and Ethan Kachosa were enough to give the Black Cats the win despite Crysencio Summerville finding the net for the visitors.
But much of the attention was on Xhemajli, who was making his long-awaited return and featured for 45 minutes before being replaced by Henry Fieldson at the break.
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It may be a little while yet before the defender is back in Lee Johnson’s senior side but yesterday was an important step in the right direction and has been recognised by many fans on Twitter as such…
So happy he's nearly back 🥰🔴⚪
— Ethan Smith (@EthanSmith1717) October 10, 2021
Fingers crossed it’s an easier path from now and he goes on to play a boat load of games
— Andy Stobbart (@anorthernbullet) October 10, 2021
Great to see, looking forward to seeing Arby playing for the 1st team
— Jim P (@1691Seamus) October 10, 2021
He did well. Looks a very accomplished player. Great to see him back.
— Pete Sixsmith (@SixsmithPete) October 10, 2021
I’d love to see him be a success Peter,must have been tough to have had such a bad injury,during a pandemic and in a new and strange country for the first time.Looks physically ideal for L1 as well
— Carl Hawman (@CarlHawman) October 10, 2021
Great news, hope his recovery continues and we see him develop over the season 👍👏
— Phil Beckett 🇪🇺🇬🇧🔶️ (@PhilBeckettuk) October 10, 2021
Will be like a new signing 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
— Anthony Dalzell (@Tdal1369) October 10, 2021