Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips diagnoses club's woes

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Former Sunderland ace Kevin Phillips believes the club desperately need to revamp their recruitment if they are to get back to where they previously were, per Football Insider.

Sunderland have endured a horror run of form in the past few years, dropping out of the Premier League in the 2016/17 season, falling out of the Championship the following year, and now languishing in League One.

They splashed £4 million on Will Grigg in 2019’s January transfer window, in a desperate bid to get back into the second-tier, but the former Wigan Athletic man failed to hit the ground running; he has scored just eight goals in 49 appearances for the club.

And Phillips believes that they have made too many mistakes in the transfer market, calling on the club to revamp their scouting department in a bid to ensure they can pick up some gems from non-league football in addition to big-name acquisitions.

He said: “Recruitment has been one of the biggest issues at Sunderland over the past five years.

“The recruitment has been poor. They have made some bad signings and it has cost them.

“Poor decisions off the pitch have been costly. It has been a combination of things.

“I have never played or coached in League One but from my experience you need people within your recruitment department that know the league. It is as simple as that.

“There is no point in having somebody that is an expert on the Championship or Premier League. You need someone that knows the lower leagues – even Non-League.

“You need to find those little gems that are worth taking a chance on.

“Recruitment is massive in football. It can make or break you. It can cost you and in the lower leagues you need people on board that know those league inside out.”

GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…

Sunderland need to listen to Phillips.

He became a club legend during his time at the Stadium of Light, scoring 63 goals across 148 appearances during his six years at the club from 1997 to 2003.

The Black Cats have roundly failed to build a squad capable of finding their way back into the top-flight, having dropped like a stone after that disastrous season when they finished bottom of the Premier League.

Take a look at Leicester City’s acquisition of Jamie Vardy as an example; the striker moved from Fleetwood Town after scoring 34 goals as they were promoted to the Football League.

Leicester paid £1m to sign Vardy and he has since gone on to score 126 goals in 301 appearances, winning the Premier League and 26 England caps along the way.

Sunderland need to find their own Vardy if they are to have any hope of climbing back to where they belong.

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