Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat has taken fellow Dutchman Patrick van Aanholt aside to speak with him this week – after admitting that the left-back’s dreadful start to the season has been unacceptable after he has been fault for at least a couple of goals against both Leicester and Norwich.
Van Aanholt is the only specialist left-back on Sunderland’s books, with Under-21 defender Tom Robson not deemed ready for the Premier League, despite Advocaat exploring that option with development coach Robbie Stockdale.
I still think he can do it, but if not, we have to think about itDICK ADVOCAAT
With Sunderland’s remaining transfer budget limited, Advocaat is wary of splashing out on a new left-back before the window shuts. But he admits that he may have to move for another left-back if former Chelsea defender van Aanholt’s performances don’t improve.
“I’ve discussed it with him,” said Advocaat today.
“But it’s easier when you have players on the bench who can replace him.
“I discussed it with the coach of the second team (the Under-21s) and we can only really replace him if we buy another player.
“And we have other ideas what we need (in the transfer market).
“I still think he can do it, but if not, we have to think about it because we can’t accept what he’s showed in the last two games.”
Advocaat will be forced to make one defensive change against Swansea today, after Younes Kaboul was ruled out through injury.
But the Sunderland boss has hinted that he is unlikely to further tinker with his back-line.
Captain John O’Shea will take the place of Kaboul in central defence after the £3million summer signing was sidelined by a knee injury.
Head coach Advocaat had been contemplating making that change anyway after ex-Spurs defender Kaboul has struggled in Sunderland’s opening two games.
Advocaat had opted to leave out captain O’Shea at the start of the season after preferring younger pair Kaboul and Sebastian Coates.
Yet the 34-year-old former Manchester United man accepted Advocaat’s decision and has refused to be downhearted by being left on the bench.
“We had to look forward and those guys (Kaboul and Coates) are younger and quicker,” added Advocaat.
“John was not in his best shape and he knows that as well. But the good thing was, one which I really respect, was that when I told him, he said ‘it’s a long season gaffer’. I believe in Kaboul, so I started with him.
“But I have to change that now because Kaboul is injured.”