MARTIN O’Neill has been delighted by the early performances of on-loan Spurs left-back Danny Rose and believes the youngster can go on to develop into an important member of the Sunderland squad.
The 22-year-old has improved in all three games he has been involved in before today’s match against Wigan Athletic.
He made his debut in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool earlier this month, lasting just an hour before a lack of match fitness caught up with him.
It was Rose’s failure to prevent Raheem Sterling’s centre, just seconds before being substituted, that helped allow Liverpool to equalise.
And the youngster immediately put his hands up afterwards to acknowledge his part in the conceding of the goal.
But the self-criticism looked harsh, given he had been signalling to come off for minutes before he was beaten.
A slight groin strain had started to restrict him in the Liverpool game but he shook that off and has produced stand-out performances both in the defensive battering the Black Cats received from West Ham at Upton Park and the cup game against MK Dons this week when Sunderland were reduced to 10 men in the wake of Lee Cattermole’s dismissal.
Although at 5ft 8ins, he is not the biggest defender his predecessors, Jack Colback and Keiran Richardson, weren’t either and, like them, Rose is very comfortable going forward into midfield and the final third.
O’Neill has watched the England Under 21 international’s first few performances with great interest and believes his initial judgement of the player as a real prospect is being borne out.
He told the Echo: “Danny has done fine.
“He’s a really good talent.
“He’s a strong little lad and I think that, with a run of games, he will improve.”
Rose, for his part, has settled at Sunderland immediately, with the Doncaster-born defender having no problem with the move to the North East.
And he has been quick to say that he would be more than happy to extend his season-long loan at Sunderland into a permanent deal given the chance.
“Has he?” smiled O’Neill when it was mentioned this week.
“He’s never said anything about that to me!
“At this stage, it is just a loan.”
O’Neill would be the first to say that it is too early to tell at this stage how Rose’s loan move will ultimately pan out.
But he has been quick to acknowledge that the Spurs man has made a promising start.