PADDY McNAIR made a goalscoring return from injury as a strong Sunderland Under-23s side claimed a 2-0 win over Hertha Berlin in their opening game of the Premier League International Cup.

The Black Cats named Duncan Watmore, Brendan Galloway, Donald Love and Jack Rodwell in their starting line-up at the Stadium of Light, with the latter lining up at centre-half rather than in midfield.

McNair’s was the most notable name on the team sheet though, with the Northern Irish international making his first appearance since damaging his cruciate knee ligaments last November.

Like Watmore and Ethan Robson, McNair played for the opening 45 minutes before being withdrawn at half-time, and the pair combined for the opening goal eight minutes before the interval. Watmore’s shot was saved, but McNair reacted quickly to score with a looping header.

Sunderland dominated the opening period, but their German opponents almost claimed a surprise equaliser on the stroke of half-time as Fabio Mirbach headed against the post.

Black Cats goalkeeper James Talbot did not have a lot to do all evening, even though Hertha enjoyed more possession in the second half.

Sunderland’s superiority was rarely threatened, and the hosts extended their advantage in stoppage time. Jack Diamond was fouled in the penalty area, and skipper Thomas Beadling stepped up to score from the spot.

Sunderland: Talbot; Love, Rodwell, Beadling, Galloway; Molyneux, E Robson (Gamble 45), Bale, McNair (Diamond 45); Greenwood, Watmore (Nelson 45).