Sunderland U21 coach explains how the club’s new selection philosophy will benefit young players.

Sunderland use U21 games to offer first-team players game time. Sunderland’s young players will gain from playing alongside first-team players in the U21s, even if they must sometimes make way, according to coach John Hewitson. Nazariy Rusyn, Adil Aouchiche, Nectar Triantis, Jenson Seelt, and Luis Hemir were all starters in the club’s U21s side that defeated Derby County 3-1 in Premier League 2 at Eppleton last night.

Sunderland has chosen to use U21 games this season to provide first-teamers in need of minutes some game action, and while this means some of the club’s players may miss out,

academy players will have to drop out of the side at times, U21 assistant coach Hewitson believes it will benefit them in the long run. “As human beings, sometimes they can be quite selfish and they want to play every game, which is understandable,” he said. “Our regular U21 players know that this is the case and that this is the policy and the way the club wants to go. There will be some times where they get dropped in and some of our U21 players play alongside them and they will enjoy and learn from playing with players of that standard and calibre. “It’s another part of their development. For some of the boys have done particularly well over the last few weeks and then didn’t find themselves in the squad, it’s tough and you have empathy for them because they are upset that they are not playing but that’s the way the club is wanting to do it so we respect that.”
Of the summer additions, he added: “They are talented players and it’s really good for us as staff because we’ve got French [Aouchiche], Portuguese [Hemir], Ukrainian [Rusyn] – there’s a lot of Google Translate going on at half-time! It’s interesting having to communicate with different nationalities, and then for the boys to get used to playing with them.”

John Hewitson expecting tough test for Sunderland U21s ahead of Aston Villa  clash - Chronicle Live

Rusyn was particularly impressive in the first half, providing the assist for Aouchihe for the first goal, and earning the penalty which was converted by Ellis Taylor. Hewitson said: “He’s different to what we have had, he’s got genuine pace, he wants to do well, he wants to work extremely hard, but he is slightly physically behind the other lads because he has only trained with us for the last couple of weeks so it will take time to get him up to speed.”

Derby equalized on the hour mark through Dajaune Brown, but Sunderland sealed the deal ten minutes later when replacement Harry Gardiner restored their two-goal lead. Hewitson commented: “The result was good, and we were pleased with the first half performance but in the second half it became a bit scrappy and we didn’t control it as much as we like to.”Derby altered their mindset and went at us, which is credit to them, but thankfully we got the third goal to make it a little more comfortable toward the end. I’d say the second half was close, but the first half performance was far better than the second.”

Defender Ben Crompton was taken off after just 20 minutes, with Hewitson stating that the 19-year-old was suffering from a virus. “Ben had been suffering from a virus for the last few weeks and he just didn’t feel quite right,” he stated.

“He was taken off as a precaution, you can’t be too careful with those things.”

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