Phil Parkinson has only been in the Sunderland job for two games, but he’s already made a bold decision, dropping goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin.
The keeper has been replaced by Lee Burge for the opening two games of the Parkinson Black Cats reign. Whilst it’s too early to make a judgement, the signs don’t look good for the Scotland international.
Parkinson himself says it’s too early to make a statement on who his number one is (Sunderland Echo), but with a Scotland career to build on, McLaughlin could really use the regular minutes he’s been used to down south.
Steve Clarke may look elsewhere if McLaughlin is dropped by Sunderland
McLaughlin recently made his second Scotland appearance in a 6-0 win over San Marino. With 34-year-old David Marshall, Scotland’s number one, not getting any younger, there’s a chance for one keeper to be become the heir to his throne.
Right now it appears as if McLaughlin is that man but that will soon change if he’s benched consistently.
It happened with Liam Kelly. After a stellar season with Livingston, the keeper was called up to Clarke’s Scotland squad in June. After struggling to feature initially at QPR, the goalkeeper has found himself out of the past two squads.
He’s now starting to play on a consistent basis for the Loftus Road side in a league above. Whilst the two are similar in ability, Clarke will always pick the man playing regularly.
Even League One rival Craig MacGillivray at Portsmouth will accelerate ahead of him with more games. There’s competition for the gloves and Clarke has shown he isn’t afraid to wield the axe.
Of course it’s two games on the bench, so there’s no need for panic just yet. If he continues to be benched though, McLaughlin could see himself drop out of the national team squad.