By Will Griffee For Mailonline
Published: 11:38 BST, 19 May 2020 | Updated: 15:26 BST, 19 May 2020
Sunderland have been dealt their latest blow by a player choosing to join non-league South Shields instead of the League One Black Cats.
Former PSV Eindhoven academy graduate Wouter Verstraaten had been given an offer to join Sunderland's Under-23s after impressing on trial in a game against Liverpool, but he has snubbed them.
He played 14 times for the club before the coronavirus pandemic suspended football and Sunderland were keen on bringing him into their set-up.
Wouter Verstraaten (left) had a trial with Sunderland Under-23s but rejected their offer
But the North East club have been left red-faced with Verstraaten, who can play across defence or in midfield, choosing South Shields instead.
He told the Sunderland Echo: 'I am very happy to have signed this deal, as it took a while before we finally got it done.
'I am very pleased that South Shields have shown their confidence in me