Sunderland boss pleased with '˜other' JD

Jermain Defoe is not the only JD on form for Sunderland.

Tuesday, 22nd November 2016, 5:27 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd November 2016, 10:21 am
Jason Denayer

Boss David Moyes has sung the praises of Jason Denayer, who made his first start for six weeks when the Black Cats saw off Hull City 3-0 in a massive six-pointer.

And Denayer’s superb display came in the unfamiliar surroundings of central midfield.

The 21-year-old defender had played the final 18 minutes of the 2-1 win at Bournemouth there and Moyes saw him as a perfect replacement for the suspended Steven Pienaar.

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“We have been waiting to see what Jason can do, “ said Moyes.

“He has been a little bit of a slow burner to start with.

“I have seen little signs of things from him.

“I thought he played well against Notts County in midfield too [in the Checkatrade Trophy], we knew he could play full-back, centre-back and middle of the pitch.

“We have a [big] group of central midfield players, if you think of Jan Kirchhoff, Lee Cattermole, Jack Rodwell and Didier Ndong.

“But suddenly there have been three out injured and we lose Steven Pienaar to suspension.

“So, we suddenly found ourselves short in those areas than we had been at other times.”

Moyes had no hesitation in putting the Belgian, on a season-long loan from Manchester City, in the middle of midfield.

Primarily placed just in front of the back four, where he feels most at home, Denayer also got forward and, showed good footwork and speed when required.

“I thought Jason did quite well, not always noticeably,” said the manager.

“But he’s very quick and I thought he recovered things and got back with opponents.

“We’ve been needing a bit of speed.”

Moyes was a little concerned to lose the Belgium U21 late in the game at the Stadium of Light, though the player had already done his bit and more.

Given the Black Cats already had the points in the bag, there was no need to risk the player who is not long back from a four-match absence after suffering an adductor problem.

“He just felt his hamstring at the end so I’ve just got to hope he’s OK,” added Moyes.

The Sunderland boss could face a dilemma this Saturday when his side visit Liverpool.

Pienaar is available after a one-game ban but there is a vacancy at the heart of the defence with Papy Djilobodji out following his late sending-of against Hull.

Denayer has also featured at full-back, though centre-half remains his preferred position.