'Underwhelming' Elias Sorensen does not suit Carlisle United's style – but it's too early to write the Newcastle United striker off yet
The Magpies forward was wanted by most clubs in the League One and League Two, as well as a clutch of National League oufits, but Steven Pressley and Carlisle won the race, and could not be more delighted to land the 20-year-old.
Two starts – the last of which was on – and five appearances off the bench has seen the youngster fail to net, or impress, the Brunton Park faithful.
Sorensen’s season-long loan in Cumbria already has echoes of his Blackpool spell at the end of last season, where he was recalled after just one appearance.
So what’s the current situation with Sorensen? We’ve spoken to Jon Colman, Carlisle United writer for the News & Star to talk about Sorensen’s impact, or lack of it, and what the future may hold for the Danish youth international.
Q: What is the reason behind Sorensen's lack of games at Carlisle? Fitness, style, system?
A: “A bit of all three, plus the fact Sorensen has not yet impressed when given an opportunity. He could easily have scored in a couple of his early appearances, but missed a sitter against Salford and was denied by the keeper at Rochdale. Had either gone in, it might have made a significant difference to these early stages of his loan. He looked lively enough in those games but has been mainly restricted to substitute appearances since and these have not brought much excitement. A while ago Steven Pressley has said he was not yet at the fitness levels of other members of his squad, and has been the subject of extra training ground work to address this, and his development in general.”
Q: When he has been given the chance, how has he performed?
A: “Other than those chances he was unable to take, Sorensen has struggled for goalscoring opportunities. His only league start so far came at Scunthorpe, when he played down the middle in a front three. Carlisle's first-half display was dire there, and the fact Sorensen rarely got the chance to make his mark was as much down to the general team display. Otherwise, it has mainly been cameo appearances, sometimes on the left of the attacking three, and these have seldom seen him on the end of crosses/chances in the box. He cut a frustrated figure in a reserve defeat at Hartlepool, but did get another first-team start against Wolves under-21s in the Leasing.com Trophy and put in a better overall performance. This may convince Pressley that he is progressing, and worth another chance soon. Some observers believe he may be more suited in a two-man strikeforce, but Carlisle seldom play this way.”
Q: After an extended pursuit of the player, has the signing proved underwhelming?
A: “So far, yes, but it wouldn't be fair to write off a young player this early. He was earmarked as a potential target a good while before he signed, and given their reliance on the loan market in attack, Carlisle had put a lot of their hopes on him. It appears that it is going to take longer for Sorensen to establish himself as a regular starter, and he will need to make an impact at some stage in the coming weeks to justify the club and manager's faith. Just now Carlisle are getting a decent goals return from another loanee (Scunthorpe's Olufela Olomola) and he is the man in possession up front.”
Q: What are the manager's thoughts on the player?
A: Sorensen was among Pressley's top striker targets in the summer and was pleased to have landed him. He believes he has strong potential as a finisher but has openly admitted he needs work in order to improve his fitness and fulfil his potential. Pressley has pointed out that several of his young signings do not have a long CV of first-team football and Sorensen can be included in this category. This early into the campaign, then, the manager is likely to show patience.
Q: Is it likely Sorensen will see out his loan spell or do you envisage it being cut short?
A: “Too early to say; Carlisle will want to give him time, and Pressley said there has been no suggestion from Newcastle that they might recall Sorensen. If he reaches December still on the fringes then you wouldn't be surprised if the conversation changed, but just now the emphasis is on working with Sorensen and trying to develop him into someone who can make his mark on Carlisle's attack.”
Q: Do you think the player has the ability to make a success at League Two level, or potentially at Newcastle in the future?
A: “Would prefer to see more of him before making a judgement like that. Two starts and five sub appearances is limited evidence to make an argument either way. Sorensen has only just turned 20 and there are clearly many who believe in his potential; hopefully an eventual run in the side will see that belief vindicated.”
Q: What is the status of his loan - do Newcastle have a recall?
A: “It hasn't been said explicitly, but it's understood most of Carlisle's loanees have such a clause in their deals, so it would be surprising if the same did not apply with Sorensen.”