Sunderland are expected to retain the services of goalkeeper Lee Burge when their retained list is submitted to the EFL this week, per journalist Phil Smith.
Burge wasn’t an ever-present in League One this season as Remi Matthews was selected ahead of him for five games, but he played 41 times in the regular season to cement himself as first-choice.
He had a very up and down time of things in the play-offs against Lincoln City though after suffering a humiliating moment in the first leg at Sincil Bank, striking the ball straight at opposition attacker Brennan Johnson who was able to double their advantage.
Burge redeemed himself somewhat in the second leg by fantastically stopping Jorge Grant’s penalty, but the damage had already been done by then and Sunderland couldn’t breach Alex Palmer’s goal to send the game to extra time.
The 28-year-old has divided opinion for much of the season amongst the fanbase following the decision to make him the first-choice – he spent most of the 2019/20 campaign on the bench behind Jon McLaughlin.
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But even though head coach Lee Johnson is expected to revamp his goalkeeping options for the 2021/22 campaign, the one-year option in Burge’s contract is expected to be triggered, which may mean he is relegated to the bench behind a new stopper that Johnson potentially has his eyes on.
Despite being named in the League One Team of the Season, Burge still hasn’t convinced some Sunderland fans, ones who believe that the club will be able to attract a better stopper this summer.
And they probably could do just that – Kyril Louis-Dreyfus will no doubt back Johnson in the transfer market and all the whispers are pointing towards him looking for a new goalkeeper.
Burge may have to revert to a substitute role next season but his fate remains in the club’s hands as they hold all the power with the optional extension.