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…
Dion Sanderson has played a big part in Sunderland’s improving form in the second half of the season.
The 21-year-old has become an ever-present figure in Lee Johnson’s backline with him operating at both centre-back and right-back thus far.
The 6ft 2 defender is on loan from Premier League side Wolves but the signs are looking good for his progression and development as a player, with his recent displays certainly standing out.
The player did also enjoy a fruitful stint at Cardiff City last season and gained plenty of plaudits for his mature performances.
So, with this in mind, have you seen enough from Dion Sanderson in the EFL to suggest he can be a starter at Wolves next season?
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It’s all well and good standing out at League One level, but stepping up two levels within the space of a few months would be incredibly difficult for Sanderson.
I have commented multiple times this week that I don’t quite think he’s ready for the top flight just yet, but there’s nothing wrong with that – he’s only 21 after all.
Sanderson definitely needs another season of development before he is thrusted into Wolves’ first-team plans. He showed glimpses of quality in the Championship last season in his loan spell at Cardiff and I think he deserves a chance at that kind of level once again in the 2021/22 campaign.
The situation could then be assessed the following summer, but if Sanderson continues his trajectory of development, I don’t see why he can’t be in Wolves’ plans in two seasons time.
Quiz: Did Wolves do these 12 things during their stint in the EFL?
This is a tricky one to assess I think.
I was impressed with Sanderson in the Championship with Cardiff towards the end of last season, and he certainly seems to have stood out at League One level for Sunderland during the current campaign, suggesting he is ready to make the step up to the Premier League sooner rather than later.
However, when I look at the experience and ability that the current crop of defenders Nuno has at his disposal at Molineux at this moment in time, I can’t really say Sanderson breaking into their starting lineup on a regular basis next season.
As a result, it is perhaps no surprise to see the amount of interest there is emerging in Sanderson, given he can clearly do a job at a high level of English football, and the fact that there may not be too many guarantees about his future opportunities at Wolves when his latest loan spell comes to an end.
I genuinely think that Dion Sanderson could be worthy of an opportunity at Wolves.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side will be aiming high next term but in the 21-year-old they have a player who is destined for the top.
I’ve watched Sanderson a number of times for Sunderland this term and what stands out is his dominance and leadership at the back as the youngster barks out orders to the more experienced players around him.
There’s no doubt that he’s too good for League One and so perhaps the next step will be Championship football.
But I’m sure that Espirito Santo will take a look at him in pre-season and make a decision on where his immediate future lies.