Tony Mowbray reveals message to Sunderland youngsters
Tony Mowbray says he will continue to be cautious as he integrates Sunderland's young signings into his group.
Jewison Benette, Amad Diallo and Abdoullah Ba all played an integral role as the Black Cats won a late point against Watford at Vicarage Road last Saturday, with a remarkably youthful XI ending the game firmly in the ascendancy.
It was, Mowbray explained, a significant moment for those players in proving to the fans, themselves and their new team-mates that they can make an impact at the level.
The head coach has also made clear, however, that he feels their English needs to improve before they can be realistically in contention to start games on a regular basis.
Mowbray also made clear that he wants to respect the impact many of the more established players have made through the opening ten games of the Championship table.
Asked if he still saw the youngsters primarily as players to make an impact off the bench for the time being, Mowbray said: "I think so.
"It would also be really tough on... Alex Pritchard or even an Elliot Embleton who produces two assists after we bring him on against Reading in midweek, for me to bring in these lads [from the start].
"At this stage they can't really communicate fully with their team-mates yet, and I've been talking with the Sporting Director about getting more English lessons for them. Rather than them going and sitting in a hotel and watching the tele, can we get them more lessons to improve their communication quicker? That's a process that we're looking to speed up for them.
"It's important for them because it'll help them develop relationships. It's a good group and we enjoy it, and it's important we mention lads like Corry Evans and Danny Batth. They are the glue of the team with all these young, fast, talented lads around them.
"They bring us that real stability through the middle and that's really important for what we're doing."
Both Jewison Bennette and Abdoullah Ba are currently on international duty, while Mowbray is hopeful that PSG loanee Edouard Michut will be in contention to join the matchday squad for the first time when the season resumes.
The break will give Mowbray a welcome opportunity to get to know many of his new squad better, a process which is already well under way.
"I've leaned on the coaching staff who were already here, they give you that sense of what you can and maybe can't expect from each individual," he said.
"I watch them in training of course and now I've now spoken to just about all of them individually as well, I told them that they all had to knock on my door and come in for a cup of tea and a chat, so I can get to know about them and their lives. I think about 90% of the players now I've managed to have half an hour with, finding out what they're like and what makes them tick, and giving them an understanding of what I like in footballers.
"I'm an emotional coach, and I want them to know I'm there for them, that I'm there to help them. They'll all have individual plans going forward."