Has Paolo Forgotten How to Count?

Has Paolo forgotten how to count? At first sight of the new squad numbers, one may be forgiven if thinking that Paolo Di Canio has caught a touch of the Harry Redknapp's syndrome in having difficulty in counting. Notably missing are 1 to 4. Also eye-catching, Lee Cattermole, captain for the past three years, has been put out on a limb by being given the highest, 33, while none at all has been assigned for out-of-favour defender Phil Bardsley. Not fully sure if an abacus is required but there may be reasons behind the apparent shortage of mathematical skills.

Player numbers have long since lost much of their significance, often some just been gifted with their favourite number irrespective of their playing positions. Yet still there can be a modicum of symbolism as in the case of Steven Fletcher getting the often-esteem number 9 shirt (held previously by Fraizer Campbell and more latterly by Danny Graham). In this respect, it is highly meaningful that Cabral has taken over the number 6 from Cattermole, who appears to have been largely isolated from the rest.

Most of the remnants of last season's team retain their squad number, although there two other exceptions with Jozy Altidore taking over his favourite number 17 shirt, previously worn by Ji Dong-Won, now given 27. Adam Johnson has also been assigned the recognised left-winger's shirt of number 11 which was temporarily held by James McFadden As mentioned Bardsley has lost the conventional right back number 2 and although currently injured, with a broken foot, is unlikely to ever play again after being outcast for his antics in May.

None of this answers why the first four numbers have not been aallocated. It is not thought that Di Canio has any allergy causing this but maybe there is some logic behind the apparent irrationality. The number 1 is conventionally worn by the top goalkeeper at a club and with neither Westwood nor Mannone assigned, perhaps the aim is for the two to compete against one another for it. Each having an even chance to prove themselves worthy.

There were a few surprised that Celustka would not be wearing the number 2 shirt. But again having just being signed and having no experience yet in the Premier League, the incentive is open for him to earn the renown rightback number. As for the leftback berth, Di Canio is known still to be searching for an established player in that position. While Jack Colback is expected to fill in while still wearing his previously assigned number, perhaps he also has the option of taking up the mantle himself.

Having signed two centre-halfs, it would seem highly likely that either Modibo Diakite or Valentin Roberge Diakite could have taken the number 4 shirt but again maybe it is Paolo's intentions to let them know it would have to be deserved. The vacant number four alternative could also be left open if even the club succeed in signing a new creative midfielder. Mind games or number game, who knows?

Sunderland Squad Numbers 2013/14
5. Wes Brown
6. Cabral
7. Seb Larsson
8. Craig Gardner
9. Steven Fletcher
10. Connor Wickham
11. Adam Johnson
12. Ondrej Celustka
13. Jordan Pickford
14. Jack Colback
15. David Vaughan
16. John O'Shea
17. Jozy Altidore
18. Mikael Mandron
19. David Moberg Karlsson
20. Keiren Westwood
21. Modibo Diakite
22. El Hadji-Ba
23. Emanuele Giaccherini
24. Carlos Cuellar
25. Vito Mannone
27. Ji Dong-Won
28. Stephane Sessegnon
29. Valentin Roberge
33. Lee Cattermole

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Player Ratings: Performance Can't Stop Relegation Looming - Any Point in Deciding Who Was Best?

Player Ratings: Performance Can't Stop Relegation Looming - Any Point in Deciding Who Was Best?









That's pretty much that then. Seven points adrift from safety. Swansea's defeat away to Bournemouth should give us something to hold onto, when in fact it just infuriates me more given the opportunity we have missed. As always though, it's time as a proud part of the WAW community to do your duty and tell us about the player performances from this afternoon.





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Jordan Pickford (90)

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