AFTER his unveiling to the media last week and that all-important first interview, the real hard work has now begun for Regis Le Bris at Sunderland.

Ever since the players returned to training after their summer breaks last week, Le Bris will have firstly been running the rule over his new squad, but also slowly, carefully and methodically moulding his players into his own identity.

What we have learned over the last ten days is that Le Bris has a clear idea of how he wants his side to play, and, if he manages to pull it off, it sounds great. Attacking, direct football, possession-based, relying on quick passes from back to front and utilising quick wingers.

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The elephant in the room is that there are two seasons to look back on from Le Bris. Firstly, it’s the season that saw his FC Lorient side finish in its highest Ligue 1 position ever; but on the other hand there’s the season where they were relegated. There’s seemingly nothing in between.

However, their relevance to us is fairly limited. The EFL Championship is not the same league by any stretch of the imagination, so in that respect, Le Bris doesn’t have a reputation to speak of.

In a way, that’s quite exciting. He doesn’t carry the baggage that perhaps a Michael Beale carried, nor does he have a glittering reputation that may force Sunderland fans to hold him to a higher standard.

His predecessors have done a pretty good job of lowering the expectation levels on Wearside, but he has a blank canvas to work on. It’s a new chapter for the club, and what has gone before for both Le Bris and Sunderland is, well, pretty meaningless.

What we have heard from Le Bris so far, is pretty impressive, and easy to see why the club’s hierarchy were keen on him.

We haven’t seen a Sunderland side play with any kind of identity since Tony Mowbray, and it’s quite encouraging that everything Le Bris has said about his own footballing ideals chimes quite well with what Mowbray would have said himself.

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We’re not going to learn a whole lot about Le Bris’ footballing ideology on Saturday in the double header of friendlies at South Shields and Gateshead – remember, early pre-season friendlies are largely public training sessions – but we will see some shoots of the early seeds planted by the club’s new head coach.

Promisingly, the appointment of Le Bris ensures that there should be no real hangover from last season’s nightmare finish.

It’s about new beginnings. We’ve had the new coach, the new kit, the new contracts - Saturday will give us a very small glimpse of the new identity of the team. And, for once, I’m looking forward to it.