Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Team-Mates Steer Clear of Mensah

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Team-Mates Steer Clear of Mensah

Article excerpt

DANNY Welbeck has revealed Sunderland's players are scared to be on the opposing side to John Mensah in training after the Ghana international produced a majestic defensive display in the goalless draw with Fulham, writes LUKE EDWARDS.

Mensah (left) is rarely able to train properly because of his fragile fitness, but when he does his team-mates clamour to be on his side rather than risk being on the receiving end of one of his thunderous tackles.

The 28-year-old was arguably the best defender at the World Cup in the summer and he reproduced that sort of form at Craven Cottage, helping secure Sunderland's tenth clean sheet in all competitions this season, despite the loss of centre-back partner Anton Ferdinand early in the game.

"That's two clean sheets in a row, and that's not to be sniffed at, especially because of all the problems we've been having with the defence," said Welbeck, who struggled to get into the game in attack.

"We seem to be picking up a lot of injuries, but Nedum's perfectly happy at centre-half and John Mensah has been absolute quality in the last two games.

"Nothing's got past him all.

He's helping to keep the defence nice and tidy and strong, so it's up to us as attackers to build on that and get the goals. Whenever we pick the teams for training, everyone wants to be on John Mensah's side. "I've played against him a few times and it's a nightmare, so goodness knows what it must be like to play against him in a match. "When he hits you, you know you've been hit. He's a big guy and he's fast. He's an animal really. I've never seen a defender like him and he's always going to be tough to play against. "He's deceptive because, when you first see him, you don't necessarily think he's going to be that strong. But he times his challenges superbly and he reads the game brilliantly. "He's always making interceptions when, as a striker, you don't even think he's there. "When he's in the side, we know that any opposition attacker is going to have it tough. …

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