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Mandron open to loan move
YOUNG Sunderland striker Mikael Mandron admits it is a big season in his development, but reveals he would consider a temporary move away from the Stadium of Light if it would benefit his career.
Mandron is one of the most highly-rated youngsters on Wearside having joined in the summer of 2011 from French side Boulogne.
The teenager impressed in his second year at the Stadium of Light scoring an impressive 12 goals in 13 Under-18 appearances, form that earned a promotion to the development squad.
Eligible to play for either Scotland or England, the 18-year-old continued to catch the eye and was called up to the first-team squad for Martin O’Neill’s last game in charge against Manchester United.
But it was under new boss Paolo Di Canio that Mandron got his first taste of Premier League action when he came on as a substitute against Aston Villa and Tottenham towards the end of last season.
And the Black Cats boss is understood to rate the teenager so much so that he included Mandron in the club’s pre-season tours to Italy and Hong Kong.
However, the acquisitions of Jozy Altidore and Fabio Borini have dented his hopes of making a push to be involved in the first-team more regularly this term with Steven Fletcher, Connor Wickham and Ji also all ahead of him.
That hasn’t affected the teenager, though, who insists he will get his head down and work hard even if he does end up going out on loan.
“I will just see what happens with a loan or anything like that,” he said.
“At the moment I am just concentrating on what is happening here. I am concentrating on my football - if a loan happens then I will give everything there but if not I will concentrate on learning as much as I can and trying to take any opportunity that comes my way.”
Mandron thinks he has benefited from training with the seniors and admits he has Di Canio to thank for believing in his ability.
Mandron said: “It’s going to be a big season. I’ve done the whole pre-season with the first team and it was a great experience. It’s going to help me and it’s going to help me massively this season.
“It’s great for me that I’m in this position and I just feel lucky to be involved with the first team. I feel privileged that the manager has faith in me to include me in the first team squad.
“My attitude is that I will just learn every day, learn from the lads and the manager who has already given me a lot of guidance and advice.
“I’m sure it is going to be great for my future and for my career.”
Di Canio added Borini and Andrea Dossena to his squad on transfer deadline day, but the Black Cats boss failed in bids for two other players.
The Italian was keen to sign young Dundee United duo John Souttar and Ryan Gauld, but manager Jackie McNamara revealed the Scottish Premier League club had rejected a £400,000 bid from Sunderland for 16-year-old defender Souttar.
Meanwhile, defender Phil Bardsley has apologised for mocking Sunderland’s opening day defeat to Fulham.
The full-back was suspended by the Black Cats over a comment posted on social media site Instagram which read: ‘Great opening day. Hahahhahaha hahahhaha!!!’ Bardsley, who is currently recovering from a broken foot, has now had his ban lifted following his apology.
“I would like to apologise to the club and supporters for my comments made on social media,” Bardsley’s statement read.
“I understand how they may have been interpreted and it was a serious error of judgement.
“I accept the punishment that has been handed to me by the football club and will now focus my attention and efforts on rehabilitation and regaining my fitness.”
However, it is thought the fact Bardsley’s ban has been lifted does not mean he has a future on Wearside.
The Black Cats released updated squad numbers following the arrival of Borini and Dossena, but Bardsley was still omitted from the list.
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