Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson believes Dion Sanderson will only get better and better, after a ‘good’ debut against Rochdale.

The 20-year-old, who is on a season-long loan at the Stadium of Light from Wolves, was handed his first Black Cats start last night, playing a full 90 minutes on the right of a three-man defence.

Rochdale v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
(Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images)

The game was an even one, finishing 2-2 with all four goals coming in the first-half.

The point lifted Sunderland up to seventh in the League One table, but it is seen as two more points dropped after defeat last time out against Portsmouth.

But Sanderson’s performance was a positive for fans to take, and Parkinson praised the youngster in his post-match interview.

“Dion will get better and better,” he said (Sunderland Echo).

“Everybody who knows centre-half positions knows that you need a centre-half who can join in play, to make the extra man in midfield, to create those overloads in wide areas, and he did that well tonight.

“He will get fitter, but it was a good debut.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool FC - Premier League International Cup
(Photo by Sam Bagnall – AMA/Getty Images)

Parkinson also hailed Sanderson’s ‘toughness’ for wanting to stay on after briefly losing feeling in his knee after catching a nerve.

A good start

Parkinson’s assessment will be welcome news for Wolves supporters, who are hoping Sanderson can enjoy a really good stint in the English third tier.

It may not have been the right result for Sunderland, but Sanderson has made an impression and that is the main thing.

Hopefully he’ll be able to keep his place in the side for the Black Cats’ next outing against Gillingham.

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