Garth Crooks praises Patrick van Aanholt for recapturing best form under Allardyce

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Garth Crooks has hailed Sunderland left back Patrick van Aanholt.

Pundit Garth Crooks has told BBC Sport that he was impressed with Sunderland left back Patrick van Aanholt's performance against Stoke City on Saturday.

The Black Cats made it two wins and two clean sheets in a row, having followed up their 1-0 win at Crystal Palace with a 2-0 victory over Stoke.

A red card for Ryan Shawcross certainly helped Sunderland, but goals from Patrick van Aanholt and Duncan Watmore handed manager Sam Allardyce another vital three points.

It was Dutch full back Van Aanholt who got the ball rolling, smashing home a superb long-range strike past the despairing dive of goalkeeper Jack Butland.

The former Chelsea man has had an inconsistent time at the Stadium of Light since joining from Chelsea in the summer of 2014, but he has certainly impressed since Allardyce switched to a 5-3-2 system and gave Van Aanholt the license to go up and down the left hand side as a wing back, rather than a full back.

His display against Stoke gave him a place in pundit Garth Crooks' Team of the Week, and he told BBC Sport that Van Aanholt deserves praise for recapturing his best form under new manager Allardyce.

"It was going to take something a bit special to beat Stoke's Jack Butland and it was left to Patrick van Aanholt to do it with a cracker," said Crooks. "The Dutch full-back has had a difficult time settling in at Sunderland but, under new manager Sam Allardyce, he appears to have found his form."

"Now that Sunderland have finally employed a manager who knows what it takes to stay in the Premier League perhaps they might stick with him beyond Christmas. It would make a nice change," he added.

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