WHEN Jenson Seelt left the youth ranks of PSV Eindhoven to move to Sunderland in the summer, he would have been expecting the occasional bump in the road as he embarked on the next step of his footballing journey. Nothing, however, could have prepared him for the rollercoaster journey that is life with the Black Cats.

Eight months into his Sunderland career, and he is already on to his third head coach, with a fourth likely to arrive when Mike Dodds’ current interim spell comes to an end in the summer. There have been high points, such as the 3-0 thumping of Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough that saw him make his senior debut or the 3-1 home win over Birmingham that featured his first Sunderland start.

There have also been plenty of lower moments, not least the last four matches which have seen the Black Cats suffer four straight defeats for the first time since Sam Allardyce’s days in charge.

As a fresh-faced 20-year-old, still feeling his way in a new country, Seelt has had to display maturity beyond his years to handle everything that has been thrown at him as a Sunderland player. Ultimately, though, he remains adamant the move to Wearside was the right one for his career.

“I’m really happy with my move,” said the defender, who progressed through the youth ranks at NEC before joining PSV’s academy set-up in 2017. “I’m dealing with the path I’ve chosen. I chose for Sunderland, and I will give everything to make it a good story. I think I’m in a good way and trying to develop and learn every day.

“The intensity is so much higher than in Holland. Every moment you have to be on the front foot and keep focused because the games come really fast. But it’s really good for me.”


The last couple of months have proved extremely testing, with Sunderland’s form having nosedived amid considerable off-field upheaval that saw Tony Mowbary controversially dismissed, Michael Beale controversially appointed, and then Dodds hastily installed as a caretaker to the end of the season.

Seelt accepts that results and performances have been disappointing, but insists that morale remains high, with the Black Cats squad determined to work with Dodds to ensure things begin to improve.

“We have such a good group,” he said. “We’re not negative at all. The coach is talking to us and telling us to keep going with the progress we’re making and don’t let anything from the outside affect our focus. At the moment, we’re just trying to stay really close as a group.

“We feel as though we’re close to a win, and that’s what the manager has said to us as well. We need to keep fighting until the momentum switches our way, and hopefully that’s going to be soon.”

Sunderland’s next chance to get back to winning ways comes at Southampton on Saturday, with Seelt accepting there is a collective need for all of the club’s players to start improving their attacking output.

The Black Cats have scored just two goals in their last five games, and remain without their leading scorer and attacking talisman, Jack Clarke, who is recovering from an ankle ligament injury.

“It’s harsh, but in the end, we should look at ourselves,” said Seelt. “If you get into the spaces around the 18-yard box so much, we have to be more aggressive or maybe a little bit more brave. We have to find a way to score more goals because, in the end, it’s the only way we can get points.”