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Farfan training stint with Sunderland confirmed

Photo: Paul Rudderow

In a conference call on Wednesday, Union assistant coach John Hackworth confirmed that Michael Farfan is in northern England training with English Premier League club Sunderland. “But with Michael, he’s there because he wanted to make himself fully prepared and ready, he wanted to go experience it and make sure he’s ready for preseason,” Hackworth said.

This follows a tweet from Soccer By Ives on Tuesday stating the news.

The press release from the Union read, “Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Farfan has begun a two-week training stint with English Premier League side Sunderland.” While a start date for the training spell was not included in the press release, the announcement said “The 23-year-old will return to Philadelphia on January 24, in time for the start of preseason on Jan. 25.”

“You send a guy on trial when he’s a little younger is one thing, to send a guy on trial because they want to get fit for preseason, that’s another,” Hackworth continued, “Whenever you do this, you work with the club that you’re sending them to, you know exactly what the motives are for doing it.”

The English newspaper the Daily Mail noted the news under the headline “Darbo and Farfan impress on trial at Sunderland as O’Neill battles to secure work permits,” referencing Ghana U-20 international Alieu Darbo and the young Union midfielder’s arrival at the club. Kerith Gabriel said when questioned about Farfan during philly.com’s live chat of the MLS SuperDraft that Farfan joined Sunderland on Jan. 2 where he “has apparently been a shock to that staff.”

Hackworth made clear that Union’s rookie of the year candidate is not going on trial or seeking a move abroad at this time.

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