Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray has confirmed Jay Matete will be given the chance to play in pre-season once his Plymouth Argyle loan comes to an end.
Sunderland allowed midfielder Matete to head out on loan in the January transfer window, giving him a chance to find regular game time away from the Stadium of Light over the second half of the campaign.
Plymouth Argyle moved to snap him up, bringing him into their midfield ranks for their promotion push. Since then, the 22-year-old has played 17 times since, 10 of which have come as starts. In the process, he’s chipped in with a goal and two assists.
Some questions have been asked regarding his future at Sunderland beyond the end of this season, and Mowbray has now confirmed the midfielder will be given a chance at the club in the summer.
As quoted by the Sunderland Echo, the Black Cats boss stated he understands Matete’s desire for more minutes and said he will play in pre-season, although he wasn’t too committal on his chances of regular action. He said:
“Jay can come back in pre-season and play in the games and we will see how he does.
“I’m sure it will have benefited him to have played at Plymouth and then we will have discussions as to whether we see him is a big part of the group, because what Jay doesn’t want is.. he wants to play and that was very clear from my conversations with him before his move in January.
“Why would he want to be the 19th player every week, training every day… he wants to play. Some players are happy to go on loan and play and some want to move, so these are all the conversations that we will have.”
He later added:
“We’ll see how things go in pre-season, I don’t want to try and pre-empt that because he will have to compete with Dan Neil, Pierre Ekwah, Edouard Michut or whoever it is we have in midfield. Football is always a competition and selection is a competition within a competition.
“We’ll wait and see but he will get a chance.”
Another chance next season…
It remains to be seen just what the outcome is of the summer discussions between Matete and the club but his stint with Plymouth Argyle should have served him well looking ahead to next season.
He’s made a good impression in Devon and while he’s had bright moments for Sunderland since signing in January 2022, he did look in need of some more development before holding a regular Championship role.
At only 22, the best years of Matete’s career still look to be ahead of him but with game time an understandable priority, he will have to fight for regular action with the Black Cats.