Sunderland youth coach Andy Welsh praises first-team outcast Valentin Roberge

Sunderland Gates

The Frenchman has not featured in the first-team since August 2014.

In June 2013 Sunderland confirmed the transfer of Frenchman Valentin Roberge from Portuguese outfit Maritimo. His contract at the club had expired and he therefore made a Bosman move to Sunderland that summer.

He was one of many players snapped up that summer by Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio who went on to be a flop at the club.

Others were of course more catastrophic - with Modibo Diakite, Cabral and David Moberg Karlsson all springing to mind, as well as expensive and goal-shy striker Jozy Altidore.

But Roberge played just 12 games for the club that season and after Gus Poyet arrived at the Stadium of Light his playing time diminished swiftly.

At 28-years-old Roberge remains at Sunderland but unable to get into the first-team under Dick Advocaat and now, seemingly, Sam Allardyce.

But he has impressed for the Under-21s recently. In fact, professional phase coach at Sunderland Andy Welsh had this to say to the Sunderland website about the Frenchman:

“I’d like to mention Roberge because he scored the winner today. He hasn’t played for a couple of weeks but I thought he worked very, very hard.”

Roberge netted the winner as Sunderland defeated Reading in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League at the weekend and he will of course be hoping that Big Sam gives him a chance in the Sunderland first-team.

He spent the majority of last season on loan at Stade Reims and has not played for Sunderland since the opening game of the 2014-15 season.

This little sputter of form might just end that barren run.

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