When the move was announced that Bayern Munich would loan goalkeeper Ron-Thorben Hoffmann to Sunderland, it was widely assumed that this was a change that would benefit everyone.
Bayern Munich found a suitable club that would allow Hoffmann to compete for playing time. Sunderland received a talented young player. Hoffmann got a chance to start over and drop the “Ron” from his name.
Hopefully, it had nothing to do with this:
Anyway, Sunderland manager Lee Johnson provided some insight on why he wanted to put Hoffmann right in the lineup.
“I think to be honest, I wanted to see what we’ve got. There’s a lot of new players here and we learned a lot, for example, from that Blackpool game. We’ve got strong competition in every position, including in goal. It’s early on in the season and we need to know what we’ve got. Ideally, all that recruitment would be done in pre-season and you use those games to work on what you’ve got,” said Johnson to The Shields Gazette.
Johnson also noted that Hoffmann embraced the challenge.
“But Thorben was keen to play, and I think the risk was more that he had only met the international players the day before, two of which were the centre-halves playing in front of him. We’ve really tried to hone in on that this week as much as possible. It’s something that we try to coach all our goalkeepers on, because we want them to be bold,” Johnson said. “Listen, our goalkeepers are going to make mistakes this year. All goalkeepers do and the reaction is very important. Whether they come for it and drop it, or come for it, claim it and set off the counter, it’s the way we want to play. There were two or three situations in particular last Saturday when Thorben caught it, got to the edge of the box at a real tempo and we’d switched off with 1-v-1 and half the pitch in front of us. With the players we’ve got, those are good odds for us. It’s all a part of everyone getting to know each other and build cohesion. But we’ll encourage bold goalkeeping and having quick, bold counter-attacking options.”