Sunderland youngster Lynden Gooch shows promise on Premier League debut

Manchester City's John Stones in action with Sunderland's Lynden Gooch

The 20-year-old American forward made his first start for the club in Saturday's 2-1 loss at Manchester City.

Manchester City's John Stones in action with Sunderland's Lynden Gooch

Lynden Gooch may have been a surprise name in Sunderland’s starting XI for Saturday’s season curtain-raiser at Manchester City, but he certainly did not look out of place once the match kicked off.

The 20-year-old American attacker was making his Premier League debut and first start for the club after impressing new boss David Moyes during preseason and promptly justified his selection with a confident 64-minute performance on the left side of a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Vs Manchester City Total PassesAccurate PassesKey PassesTotal CrossesAccurate CrossesTotal DribblesInterceptionsTouchesBall RecoveriesDispossessedMins Played
Lynden Gooch 8 5 1 4 1 2 1 22 3 1 65

Despite being limited to just 22 touches due to the hosts having 77 percent of the possession, the California native impressed throughout the opening hour with his work rate and managed to complete two dribbles thanks to his willingness to push forward and test Bacary Sagna when able.

He also served up four crosses, including one which nearly led to Duncan Watmore giving the visitors an early lead, and was only dispossessed on the ball once before making way for Wahbi Khazri.

The only real blemish on his display came when he was shown a yellow card in the first half for bringing down Raheem Sterling, but Black Cats fans would have undoubtedly appreciated the defensive shift he put in during his time on the pitch.

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling is fouled by Sunderland's Lynden Gooch

While his contribution could not ultimately prevent Moyes’ men from falling to a 2-1 loss, the former US Under-20 international can certainly hold his head high for the way he handled the occasion and deservedly received plaudits from his manager at the final whistle.

“We’ll do everything we can to improve the team but we also want to bring through our own young boys,” Moyes told BT Sport after the defeat. “Young Goochy came in off the left and did a great job for us. If those young boys do well enough, we’re happy to promote them and get them in the team.”

Sunderland's Lynden Gooch in action with Borussia Monchengladbach's Christopher Lenz

Gooch, who holds a British passport through his Colchester-born father, first caught the attention of Sunderland at the age of 10 during a centre of excellence tour of Europe, when he impressed the club enough for them to invite him back to England regularly over the following years to train with their academy.

After joining the North East outfit on a full-time basis in June 2012, the skilful American went on to establish himself as one of their top prospects over the following seasons and eventually earned a brief promotion to the senior squad at the start of last term after beginning the campaign with three goals in as many games for the Under-21s.

He subsequently earned his first-team debut in a 6-3 League Cup victory over Exeter City as a second-half substitute, earning some impressive reviews in the process, and later made seven starts in 10 League One appearances while on loan at Doncaster Rovers over the second half of the campaign, while also signing a new deal until 2019.

For whatever reason, the diminutive attacker has been largely overlooked by the US setup recently, having failed to earn a spot in the squad for both last summer's Under-20 World Cup and the Olympic qualifying campaign, but that could very soon change if he starts making an impact at the Premier League level.

Sunderland's Lynden Gooch

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