I’ve only really been a football supporter since about 2013 which as a Sunderland fan was the start off several poor years for the club resulting in the club now being in League one for the second year in row. However, the club has had some brilliant players over those few years and here is my best XI.

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford: One of few shining lights of the 2016/17 season, Pickford only had one season to prove himself at Sunderland and he clearly did seen as we were relegated comfortably yet he still commanded a £30 million fee.

It is highly likely that without Pickford we would have been relegated earlier than we were and with a much worse goal difference. There was a lot of competition for this place with Vito Mannone and Costel Pantilimon however seen as Pickford is first choice goalkeeper for England, Pickford is a relatively easy choice.

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford scores a penalty during the shootout in the Nations League Third Place Play-Off at Estadio D. Alfonso Henriques, Guimaraes.

Right-back: DeAndre Yedlin: We haven’t been blessed with right-backs since I’ve been a supporter but Yedlin is probably the best of a bad bunch, while he may play for Newcastle nowadays, he did play a large part in the team that sent Newcastle down in the 2015/16 season.

Yedlin came in on loan from Tottenham on deadline day of the summer transfer window however didn’t play too much until Sam Allardyce came in and gave him and Patrick Van Aanholt crucial roles as overlapping wing-backs. Yedlin is gifted with exceptional pace and there’s a reason he still plays in the Premier League to this day.

Centre-Back: Younes Kaboul: Kaboul was brought in by Dick Advocaat ahead of the 2015/16 season and was an ever-present when fit, even under Sam Allardyce. Kaboul brought real experience, leadership and physicality to Sunderland’s back four and even came up with the odd mazy run down the wing, namely when he delivered a perfectly weighted cross to Steven Fletcher in the Derby. He was one of Dick Advocaat’s best signings along with Yedlin and another player in this eleven.

Sunderland’s Lamine Kone (left) celebrates scoring his side’s third goal of the game with teammates Younes Kaboul and Jermain Defoe during the Barclays Premier League match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland.

Centre-back: Lamine Kone: Kone may have left Sunderland with a bad reputation however I can’t bring myself to have a bad opinion of him thanks to him being an integral part of the 2015/16 relegation battle.

From flooring, international teammate Yaya Toure on his debut to scoring the two goals to keep us up against Everton, Kone will forever be one of my favourite Sunderland defenders as he was fairly professional compared to several other players after the club was relegated from the Premier League and was part of the Championship side and despite not wanting to be there still he gave it his best shot.

At the end of the day Kone just wasn’t the same player after Kaboul left but always gave his best when called upon whoever the manager was.

Left-Back: Marcos Alonso: Brought in by Gus Poyet in the January transfer window in 2014 on loan for the rest of the season, Alonso was a consistent figure in the great escape and many fans wanted him to come back to the Stadium of Light the following summer. Sunderland were offered him for £4 million, however Poyet declined and signed Patrick Van Aanholt instead, who along with another former loanee in Danny Rose was considered for this team. Alonso proved to be a big miss by Sunderland and was later signed by Chelsea for £30 million, and is now a Premier League winner and Europa League winner.

Defensive Midfielder: Yann M’vila: In my opinion Yann M’Vila is the best player Sunderland have had in recent years.

When he arrived, there was a lot intrigue given that he was a full French international, however he also had the tendency to pick up a red card which he proved by getting sent off for a head-butt on his debut for the Under 23s.

However, this indiscipline never materialised for the first team as he was vital in the 2015/16 season, M’Vila had one of the best passing ranges I’ve ever seen and is streets ahead of everyone else in the squad in that department. M’Vila showed his quality early on in his Sunderland career scoring a free-kick away at Aston Villa and he never looked back, becoming a fan favourite at the Stadium of Light. Some would say that one of David Moyes’ biggest mistakes as Sunderland manager was signing Didier Ndong for a club record fee instead of signing M’Vila for half the price.

Sunderland’s Yann M’Vila (left) celebrates their second goal of the game scored by team-mate Billy Jones (not in picture) during the Barclays Premier League match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland.

Central-Midfielder: Lee Cattermole: Cattermole gets in this list because of loyalty and passion alone, Cattermole was told by many managers to leave as he wasn’t good enough, with Paulo Di Canio being the main culprit yet 10 years and 233 appearances later he has left as arguably a club legend. He played consistently in the Premier League when fit and had one of the best seasons of his life in League One, scoring seven goals and taking the club to Wembley twice.

Cattermole would never shy away from a challenge, and always did the dirty work at whichever level he played at, allowing other players to take the headlines, Cattermole’s influence at the Stadium of Light will be hard to replace.

Central-Midfielder: Stephane Sessegnon: Probably the most exciting player Sunderland have had in recent years, Sessegnon was very hit and miss however when he was on form he was one of the hardest players in the Premier League to stop. Sunderland signed Sessegnon as a virtual unknown from PSG, and he was a hit with the fans straight away with his quick feet, skills and ability to score from pretty much anywhere. Sessegnon was always one of Sunderland’s best players despite the inconsistency in his game.

Stephane Sessegnon, Sunderland

Right-Wing: Sebastian Larsson: Larsson was a very frustrating player at Sunderland as he usually would be one the best players at the club but from time to time he would just have one of those games where nothing goes right for him.

However, ignoring those games Larsson was a brilliant footballer, spending most of his career playing in the Premier League with Birmingham and Sunderland, Larsson had a wand of a right-foot, he was a brilliant set piece taker and crosser of a ball and had one of the best work-ethics at the club, he would always press even if nobody else did and never gave up loose balls.

Larsson spent six years at Sunderland after signing on a free after Birmingham’s relegation and he always kept his place in the decide playing wherever his manager told him to.

Left-Wing: Wahbi Khazri: Another player signed by Sam Allardyce and nobody really knew what to expect from him. However, he became a hit with the fans with his work-ethic and long-range shooting ability. Khazri was a slightly annoying player at times as if the game didn’t go his way he was a bit of a liability however fans can ignore that thanks to his role in the 2015/16 campaign.

When David Moyes was appointed he was somewhat frozen out of the team and was sold to Saint-Etienne, linking up with former favourite M’Vila, when Sunderland were relegated to League One, following a successful loan spell at Rennes.

At the end of the day, from messing up a rabona cross away at West Ham in an easily winnable game to scoring a brilliant volley against Chelsea in what proved to be the crucial game in surviving relegation, Khazri was a brilliant player for Sunderland and always stepped up when called upon.

Sunderland’s Wahbi Khazri scores his side’s first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland.

Striker: Jermain Defoe: When Sunderland signed Defoe from Toronto in 2015 it was seen as one of the best pieces of business ever, signing an experienced Premier League goal scorer in Defoe and getting rid of one the biggest flops in Premier League history in Jozy Altidore.

Defoe took time to readjust to Premier League football upon arriving only scoring  just four goals in his first season back however he scored 15 goals in each of the next two seasons to secure his place in Sunderland hearts. He left the club as a very popular man at the Stadium of Light, choosing to sign for Bournemouth on a free upon Sunderland’s relegation to the Championship. Defoe was loved by Sunderland fans on and off the pitch and is an easy pick as striker for me.

Manager: Sam Allardyce

Honourable Mentions: Jordan Henderson, John O’Shea, Danny Rose, Phil Bardsley, Fabio Borini, Vito Mannone, Jan Kirchhoff.