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Sunderland’s Josh Scowen offers Phil Parkinson food for thought vs Gillingham

Sunderland midfielder Josh Scowen has offered Black Cats boss Phil Parkinson plenty of food for thought after producing a stellar display in Saturday’s 2-0 win away to Gillingham, having been benched for the midweek draw with Rochdale.

Scowen initially joined Sunderland in January from Queens Park Rangers, but could have walked away from the Stadium of Light this summer through a clause in his £8,100-per-week contract that became active when the League One season was curtailed early due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The clause allowed Scowen to move on if the Black Cats failed to secure promotion out of the third-tier and if the North East giants received an offer from a club competing in the Championship.

Scowen ultimately stayed yet sat out Sunderland’s season-opening draw with Bristol Rovers after sustaining a bruised ankle late in the Black Cats’ pre-season programme, but soon enjoyed a consistent run in the starting line-up until Tuesday’s draw with Rochdale.

Was Scowen the MOTM for Sunderland vs Gillingham?

Yes, he was fantastic

Yes, he was fantastic

No, but he was very good

No, but he was very good

Parkinson opted to drop the 28-year-old to the bench at the Crown Oil Arena and only called on him to feature for the final 16 minutes, though offered Scowen a recall at Gillingham and started the London-born midfielder.

The former QPR ace proved to Parkinson why he should be one of the first names on the teamsheet at Priestfield Stadium, with Scowen offering an excellent display and a persistent goal threat worthy of much more.

Scowen was guilty of blazing arguably his best chance of the first-team over the bar, before spurning a handful of good openings in the second period as Sunderland pushed for the opening goal.

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Sunderland's manager Jack Ross gestures during the Portsmouth match, August 2018

Sunderland's first win of the 2019/20 season came in a 2-1 victory over Portsmouth, but who scored the opening goal?

But the £720,000-rated ace impressed nonetheless, as Chris Maguire and Lynden Gooch scored the goals to seal all three points, with SofaScore data showing Scowen as recording the game’s joint-most shots (four) with Gillingham’s Dominic Samuel.

Scowen was additionally successful with his only attempted dribble of the match, while completing 78% of his 32 passes for two key balls and three accurate crosses. He failed to direct a shot on target, though, with three efforts sailing wide and one blocked, including missing the one big chance to score.

Parkinson also witnessed Scowen contribute defensively with one clearance and one tackle, along with winning two of his five duels on route to registering 51 touches.

The Black Cats boss will find it very challenging to justify again benching Scowen when Sunderland host Ipswich Town on Tuesday night after the sensational efforts he produced at Gillingham.

AND in other news, Phil Parkinson risks a naïve call on a Sunderland man Jack Ross claimed had “not achieved anything”.

Article title: Sunderland’s Josh Scowen offers Phil Parkinson food for thought vs Gillingham

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