, Sunderland midfielder returns from L1 loan after ‘honest conversation’ with Kristjaan Speakman

Sunderland midfielder returns from L1 loan after ‘honest conversation’ with Kristjaan Speakman

Sunderland midfielder Jay Matete has returned from his loan spell at Oxford United and has undergone minor knee surgery, it has been confirmed.

Sunderland were without midfielder Matete for much of the first half of the season due to injury and once he returned, the decision was made to send him out on loan.

The 23-year-old joined League One side Oxford United on a deal until the end of the campaign. However, after playing a part in the first six games with the club, Matete dropped to the bench for the following two games and has been out of the matchday squad for the last two.

Now, with the end of the season nearing, a decision has been made to bring the midfielder back.

Sunderland announced the move on their official club website and after talks between Matete and sporting director Kristjaan Speakman, the former Plymouth Argyle loan man has undergone minor knee surgery.

It brings an end to his season but means his full focus can turn to preparing for the 2024/25 campaign. Explaining the decision, Speakman said:

“Jay has had to navigate a really challenging season and after working hard to return to fitness in December, this news comes as a disappointing blow.

“After assessing his injury earlier this week, we had an honest conversation and agreed that immediate surgery provides the best long-term outlook for his progression.

“It is a testament to Jay’s character that he is already focussed on returning ahead of pre-season and making an impact, and we look forward to supporting him fully in that process.”

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, Sunderland midfielder returns from L1 loan after ‘honest conversation’ with Kristjaan Speakman

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Looking to next season

As Speakman said himself, it’s been a tough year for Matete. He’s been hampered by injury and hasn’t been able to kick on as hoped with Sunderland or in his loan at Oxford United.

The decision to end the season prematurely in favour of surgery will have been a tough one to make. However, the London-born talent can now fully focus on getting into shape for pre-season before embarking on the 2024/25 campaign.

Championship game time has been hard to come by for Matete since the Black Cats’ rise from League One but a new manager will be inbound this summer. That could give him the chance to catch the eye and fight for a place in the squad once he’s back to 100% after surgery.

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