The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

LIAM Brid­cutt flopped at Sun­der­land. But who hasn’t? The en­tire squad has per­formed with all the as­sur­ance of a nurs­ery school na­tiv­ity cast for the best part of three years.

Spanked on a weekly ba­sis, stuffed with age­ing mer­ce­nar­ies and cut-rate for­eign­ers, man­agers com­ing and go­ing like tube trains at rush hour.

It is no en­vi­ron­ment for any player to pros­per, let alone a young, cul­tured ball-player straight out of the Cham­pi­onship.

That’s why, just two mis­er­able years af­ter clinch­ing a £3m move from Brighton, the 26year-old is back in the Cham­pi­onship with Leeds.

Back then, Brid­cutt was the best mid­fielder out­side the top flight and the lynch­pin of Gus Poyet’s free-flow­ing side.

In­tel­li­gent and per­cep­tive, his pass­ing from deep was the cat­a­lyst for ev­ery­thing the Seag­ulls did well. Yet, on Wear­side he is viewed as a crab, a player who scut­tles in­ef­fec­tively from side to side and passes ei­ther five yards or back­wards.

Let’s be clear, though. Brid­cutt wasn’t bought to change games. He was bought to feed dy­namic play­ers and then give them se­cu­rity to at­tack.

Brighton had ball-play­ing de­fend­ers and tal­ented for­wards who broke quickly. Sun­der­land spend games de­fend­ing for their lives, bank­ing be­hind the ball and run­ning to­wards their own goal.

Brid­cutt just didn’t fit the sys­tem, lost con­fi­dence and played with in­hi­bi­tion. Sun­der­land fans may dis­agree, but Brid­cutt is a cut above the Cham­pi­onship.

I’d back him to prove it all over again.

MIS­USED: Liam Brid­cutt

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