Champion League

Sunderland should ditch Jay Matete

With the January transfer window approaching, Tony Mowbray will no doubt be planning some big changes in Sunderland‘s squad as he looks to push the Black Cats up the Championship table in the second half of the campaign.

To that effect, one man who the former Blackburn Rovers boss might consider getting rid of is former Fleetwood Town midfielder Jay Matete.

The 21-year-old joined Sunderland from the Cods on deadline day last winter under the watch of sporting director Kristjaan Speakman and was a regular in the second half of the 2021/22 season as the Black Cats earned promotion back to the Championship via the play-offs.

The defensive-minded midfielder made 16 appearances for the Mackems, averaging a strong 6.71 rating from WhoScored for his performances in League One, so it was perhaps expected that he would continue as a regular under Alex Neil in the second tier.

However, he has been limited to just one start and six substitute appearances in the Championship so far this term, averaging a disappointing 6.33 rating from WhoScored, which suggests that Mowbray doesn’t see him as a big part of his future plans.

While he is still only 21, it seems wrong to keep the young midfielder at the club if the manager has no intention of playing him. That certainly seems to be the case at the moment, as his last start for the club came in August, and he has been limited to brief substitute outings under Mowbray.

Roker Report journalist Philip West was full of praise for Matete after he produced a strong display from the bench against Sheffield United earlier in the season, despite the Black Cats suffering a 2-1 defeat.

He said: “Also have to single out Jay Matete, who was absolutely exceptional when he came on. I was convinced that his omission was bad news for him, to say the least, but he performed brilliantly. A real battling display.”

However, he has failed to show this on a consistent basis during his time with the club, and his career will only continue to stall if he is left to rot on the bench by Mowbray.

Therefore, the 59-year-old must consider selling Matete when the transfer window opens next month, or else risk being stuck with the former Fleetwood man until his Sunderland contract expires in 2026.

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