With all eyes on Tottenham’s title bid it’s easy to forget that our summer signing DeAndre Yedlin has quietly been building up experience while on loan at Sunderland.
There was doubt as to what Yedlin’s best position was when he joined Spurs, with the USA international having been used as a right-back and as a winger. For now at least he’s being employed as a full-back by Sunderland and Yedlin has praised his manager Sam Allardyce for the defensive education he’s receiving.
“It’s something that I wanted to work on, especially coming into the Premier League.
“I felt that was the area of my game that needed the most improvement and the gaffer has really helped me with that, as have the players alongside me.
“Positional awareness comes with experience, so getting game time helps, but we also work a lot in training as a back line and also on defensive shape.
“Before, sometimes if the ball was played over my head I wouldn’t know where I was.
“Like against Arsenal (December’s 3-1 defeat) when (Joel) Campbell got in behind me, but now I feel a lot more comfortable.
“Before, sometimes I would be going forward when it really wasn’t the right time to go too.
“Now I’m picking my times better, and that’s helping me defensively.”
Allardyce’s teams have a reputation for defensive organisation and Sunderland is a club where Yedlin can grow as a footballer, even if they go down. With Allardyce having experience of getting teams out of the Championship, it seems that Sunderland are in for a much-needed period of stability.
There seems little point in returning to White Hart Lane next season, considering that the club have two fine right-backs in Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier. Another loan, or even a permanent deal seems likely.
After all, Walker and Trippier and both fairly young and in Kyle Walker-Peters the club has a very promising teenage right-back coming through the ranks. While it seems that Yedlin is making progress at Sunderland as a defender, the path to the first team at Tottenham seems blocked for the time being.