Seven players and their expiring contracts: Which players to keep?

Sunderland have seven players who's contracts expire at the end of the season.

by Molly_Burke Friday, 02 November 2018 08:06 PM Comments

After Stewart Donald revealed that the club are working on renewing the contracts of some of the youngsters, I took a look at who I would want to keep on Wearside. 

Robbin Ruiter 

Robbin Ruiter joined the club on a two-year contract last August and hasn't particularly had a very consistent spell with the club. 

While Ruiter was our first choice keeper for the majority of last season, it didn't exactly mean he was very impressive. He was often in and out of the team after making numerous mistakes, but was the best of a bad bunch as Jason Steele and Lee Camp weren't exactly covering themselves in glory either. 

Since Jon McLaughlin's arrival in the summer Ruiter has found himself warming the bench, bar two appearances in the Checkatrade Trophy. While the former Utrecht man particularly impressed against Stoke City U-21s - becoming the hero in the penalty shootout - there is no chance o McLaughlin budging after a brilliant start to his Sunderland career.

I'm not convinced we will see much of Ruiter in between the sticks anymore, and with Max Stryjek impressing at Eastleigh, renewing the 31-year-old's contract seems like a waste. 


Adam Matthews

Adam Matthews is a very confusing one. During our time in the Championship I thought the defender was perhaps one of the better players in an appauling side, but failed to replicate that when we dropped down to the third tier. 

Matthews' start to life under Jack Ross was very poor, but injuries to Glen Loovens and Denver Hume meant he found himself back in the starting XI. 

Matthews has thrived at been handed a second chance and, just like the rest of our defence, has appeared rock solid at the back recently. 

Whether I would renew his contract is something I am unsure on. The Welshman is only 26 and has been performing well, but his inconsistency is worrying and I still think he is a weak link in our team. 


Denver Hume

Denver Hume is a player I didn't really know much about prior to this season, but he has truly shone in the handful appearances he has made for the club.

Before picking up an injury against Coventry, Hume looked like he was really making his mark and was pulling off some very impressive performances - especially with his superb crossing. 

I have no doubt that the 20-year-old will be very important for us once he returns and is likely to play a big part in Sunderland's future. I would definitely renew Hume's contract and I have no doubt the club will be just as keen. 


Reece James

Reece James was expected to be first choice left-back when he signed in July, but with Bryan Oviedo still at the club - as well as the emergance of Hume - James has been limited to appearances.

However, with Oviedo's ban and Hume's injury, James was given the perfect opportunity to show us what he is made of.

While he doesn't do anything particularly amazing, he also doesn't do anything wrong and has been part of the brilliant defence we have had over the past few games. 

If James manages to stay in the team for a majority of the season I imagine fans will warm to him a lot more, and if that happens then I would opt to keep the defender. 


George Honeyman

George Honeyman has divided opinion since he made his debut for the club in the FA Cup tie against Bradford City in 2015. 

Similar to Matthews, Honeyman impressed me during our time in the Championship, but seems to have struggled to have quite as much of an impact this season. 

However, I do believe the midfielder is very much an unsung hero and people don't tend to notice the effect he has in some games. The 24-year-old was named captain at the start of the season and I'm sure he will thrive under it as the season continues - hopefully providing us with some great performances too.

Honeyman is very unlikely to leave the club as Donald confirmed he will trigger a clause in his contract that will see him stay on Wearside for another year if he plays a certain amount of games. 


Lynden Gooch

I'm not sure whether there's any real question as to whether we would renew Gooch's contract, as it's 100% a yes. 

I have always had a soft spot for Gooch and this season has shown why. He has been one of our stand-out players so far and with three goals and seven assists there is no doubting his ability.

It's clear the American loves it here in Sunderland and he is likely to play a very big part in our journey back up to the Premier League - and rightly so.


Josh Maja

Like Lynden, Maja is almost certainly going to be one of the main priorities for the club. The forward has been brilliant so far this season and, at 19, is only going to get better.

It is clear Maja has excelled under Ross compared to last year and is likely to be very aware that his decision to stay with the club in the summer was the right one - with former Sunderland youngster Joel Asoro struggling for game time at Swansea. 

Maja is likely to attract a lot of interest from the higher leagues following his stellar start to the campaign and we will need to tie him down quickly to prevent any heads turning. 


hume, honeyman, maja, james, matthews, ruiter, gooch