Sunderland boss Lee Johnson explains his Leon Dajaku decision

Lee Johnson says that Leon Dajaku is likely to be considered for selection when Sunderland travel to Fleetwood next weekend.

Monday, 13th September 2021, 11:59 am

Despite handing Thorben Hoffmann a full debut in the 2-1 win over Accrington Stanley on Saturday afternoon, Johnson opted not to include Dajaku in the matchday squad.

The Sunderland head coach says the winger, who signed from Union Berlin on deadline day, was behind the rest of the group in terms of his match fitness.

He says he communicated his decision not to consider the 20-year-old for selection early, and has been encouraged by his progress on the training pitch.

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Sunderland winger Leon Dajaku

"I made that decision pretty early and told him [Dajaku]," Johnson said.

"He's looking really sharp over the last couple of days, but he is still way behind the other lads in terms that he has had no pre-season minutes, minimal training - or not at the tempo that we require - and there's a lot going on with his family coming across, and the need for visas and all that.

"To be able to work him hard and put him through that ten-day extensive hit, it was really important that we ruled this game out completely.

"If we'd put him on the bench, he might have to come on after a minute.

"I'm pretty sure that next week he will be available for selection as long as he continues at this same level of sharpness."

Johnson will have to make at least one change to what has been a fairly settled league since next weekend, with Tom Flanagan suspended after picking up his fifth booking at the Stadium of Light.