Jack Colback has been among our best this season, but how does he stack up against everyone else? Check out part one of our end of the season player grades!
The 2011/12 season is well and truly over now, so we can sit back and take a good look at it from every angle, which is exactly what we're going to be doing on Roker Report, and part of that is our end of season grades for every single player in the squad.
Whether they played or not, so long as they had a squad number then they've been given a grade on how we feel they did this season, and perhaps what the future holds in the case of some of the younger or lesser played players.
We're starting now by running through everyone from Craig Gordon to Ji Dong-Won, and tomorrow we'll be back with all those from David Meyler to Nicklas Bendtner. We've also included the mark we gave them at the half-way stage for comparison too.
Now, come have look...
1. Craig Gordon
At the halfway stage of the season we did these cards too, and back then we hoped Gordon had something in the tank to show he has a future at the club. Having suffered minor set-backs and simply not being picked at all, means that there would seemingly be absolutely no chance of Gordon staying at the club. A few appearances at the end of the season won't have made that much of a difference I don't think, although I could be shocked. Never mind, we wish you all the best for the future Craig. Grade: D (Previous: N/A)
Was this a "Player Of The Year" type season for Bardsley? No, not really. Just as it wasn't the previous year either. Once again, Bardo has been fine, adequate and never anything more. If anything, you'd say he had more bad games than good games, but there was a hell of a lot of average ones in there too. Thankfully, the right-back spot looks like being John O'Shea's to lose for the foreseeable. Grade: D (Previous: D)
3. Asamoah Gyan
Do we even still regard him as our player? Well technically he is, and he's played a few terrible games for us early on in the year. I'm sure we'd be welcoming if he came back in a better frame of mind and more motivated, but having recently turned down the opportunity to come back, he can go to the highest bidder. Grade: F (Previous: F)
3. Wayne Bridge
I was happy when Bridge arrived. So he might not have the best of reputations over the last few years having wallowed in Man City's reserves, but still, he's done alright for himself since arriving on Wearside. A few initial jitters, but once he got himself up to speed he proved to be exactly what we needed, a competent fullback. Unfortunately his wage isn't representative of his skills, so unless he's ready for a huge pay cut, we won't be seeing him back at the club. Grade: C (Previous: N/A)
Turner was coming on strong at the half-way point of the season after a nightmare start, after what we put down as "The Wes Brown Effect" but since Brown went down injured, it's been John O'Shea who rubbed off on Turner and continued the good form. Now Turner's turned teacher for Matt Kilgallon, and seems back to his better form. Grade: B (Previous: C)
5. Wes Brown
Damn us! We were all very surprised that early on in the season Brown wasn't the injury prone lump we thought he'd be, and rejoiced over the fact. Sadly, the injury bug got to him again in the latter part of the season, and he was rarely seen despite reportedly being ‘on the verge' of a comeback on several occasions. Over all though, Brown made several solid contributions, and at our lowest ebb, he did marvellously. We hope he bounces back into full fitness next season for us. Grade: B (Previous: B)
6. Lee Cattermole
Two very differing Lee Cattermole's were seen this season I feel. At the start, you could kind of see what he was supposed to be doing, but it wasn't until Martin O'Neill came in where he became a much, much improved player. There's still been the odd flashpoint where ‘Old Lee' returned such as Newcastle away, but overall, you have to say that his second half of the season, like many others, has been great. More consistency required however. Grade: B (Previous: D)
7. Sebastian Larsson
Despite a tail off towards the end of the season, which we later found out was because he was playing through injury, Larsson has had an excellent season, and a solid contributor to the team. Ending the season with 7 goals, and 2 assists, is very good, although he would have been brought in last summer to possibly reverse those numbers, the production has been excellent. Overall though, very impressed. Grade: A (Previous: A)
Up and down season for Gardner, which has ended ultimately being quite middling. The homesickness rumours didn't help him particularly, nor did a brief appearance on Twitter, and although he has had some solid games, he's also had his fair share of games where you wonder just what he does. He's committed himself to next season, so hopefully this season was just him settling in and not a true reflection of his skills. Actually, I felt he played at his best as an emergency right-back. Grade: C (Previous: C)
Campbell made his long, long awaited return from injury in the second half of the season, and was an immediate contributor and a breath of fresh air. Highlighted by his superb goal at home to Norwich City. Since then, a lack of games (through O'Neill's choice) has seen him sort of fall away a little. We'll see him back to his best next year though. Grade: C (Previous: N/A)
10. Connor Wickham
Connor had a few good games this season, notably early on where he was fantastic against Bolton and Aston Villa, but since then there's just been too many injuries, and not enough time on the pitch for Wickham. There's been a lot of criticism of Wickham, and sure he hasn't come anywhere near to justifying the £8m price tag, but there's still time and some raw materials there. Hopefully O'Neill can release his full potential next season. Grade: D (Previous: B)
I feel after he finally settled at the left-back position, Richardson had an excellent year for us. He now looks the part in the position, has improved his defensive abilities without compromising his attacking prowess, as he's still chipped in with goals and assists this season. Clearly he's not on a par with the likes of Ashley Cole, Patrice Evra or Leighton Baines, but I genuinely think he's right in the mix with the second rung of left-backs in the league. Very good season, I just hope that he resists temptation in the summer and stays with the club. Grade: A (Previous: B)
12. Matt Kilgallon
Kilgallon was virtually dead I think prior to O'Neill giving him a chance during a massive defensive crisis, and to his credit, Kilgallon has in the large been an excellent and assured performer that doesn't provide fans with any particularly nervy moments. I'd have him finishing the season as our 4th best central defender, and one to keep around next season for such emergency again. Grade: B (Previous: N/A)
14. Jack Colback
Wow. That's pretty much it for Colback. He's had such a brilliant, brilliant season at the heart of our midfield, and for me would be one of the first names on the team sheet. We've said it a million times, but Colback plays with a maturity beyond his years, rarely loses possession and works his little ginger backside off. Colback's rapidly developing into a fan favourite, and a personal favourite of mine, he's been brilliant. Grade: A (Previous: B)
15. David Vaughan
Vaughan started the season very well, looked good in possession and provided a great range of passing, but since then there's been injuries and illness which have kept him away from having a regular starting position. I said at the halfway stage that he was almost a mentor to Colback as they have a similar style, but now Colback has surpassed the Welshman, leaving Vaughan as a very capable rotation player with Cattermole. Good to have a round for next year after an ok 2011/12 season. Grade: C (Previous: B)
16. John O'Shea
I don't think O'Shea had the best of starts at the club, and by the halfway stage in the season was yet to really stand out. Since then however he has become a rock in defence (when fit) alongside Michael Turner, and notable standout performances in February, particularly against Newcastle, showed what a class act O'Shea has been for us. Overall, John's had a very good season for us. Grade: B (Previous: C)
17. Ji Dong-Won
I can't help but feel that while the South Korean has been reasonably unimpressive, it's also because he's still acclimatising to English football, and has been asked to play much more than we would have liked this season. Despite the "Roy Of The Rovers" moment against Manchester City, it's been a so-so season for Ji, but as he matures and gets used to the game here, he'll get better. There's definitely a good player there. Grade: D (Previous: D)
Well that's part one out the way, and as we said we'll be back with part two tomorrow. For now though feel free to comment below on how right we are, or more likely, how massively wrong we are...