First class Duncan Watmore is happy to be Sunderland’s super-sub

Duncan Watmore warming up for Sunderland during their 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light with Swansea City. Picture by FRANK REID
Duncan Watmore warming up for Sunderland during their 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light with Swansea City. Picture by FRANK REID
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Duncan Watmore is happy to play the role of super sub, if it keeps him in the first-team picture at Sunderland.

New England Under-21 cap Watmore has found the net on each occasion that he has been given a sustained run-out from the bench by Dick Advocaat this season, and is likely to remain among the substitutes against Spurs on Sunday, with Adam Johnson still not ready to return to competitive action.

I see myself as someone who can make an impact off the bench, definitely

Duncan Watmore

However, with Johnson on the verge of recovering from a shoulder injury and attacking reinforcements Fabio Borini and Ola Toivonen arriving in the last week of the transfer window, Watmore faces plenty of competition to fulfil his eventual goal of being a regular starter for Sunderland.

For the moment, Watmore - yesterday awarded a first class honours degree in economics from Newcastle University - is glad to get every chance he can get though, even if that means facing the challenge of changing the complexion of the game from the bench.

Watmore said: “I see myself as someone who can make an impact off the bench, definitely. I know it won’t always work, but I enjoy trying to lift the team.

“I don’t see myself necessarily as any impact sub, but I’m happy to do it for now. If I can get on the pitch, that’s fantastic and I’m happy.”

He added: “I’m looking forward to the challenge because these (the likes of Borini and Jeremain Lens) are established names and if you can get past them or come on for them, you know you’re doing well.

“It’s a good challenge for me and there’s no better place to do it than here. If I can impress the manager and get in the squad then great, on the pitch then even better.

“I want to create as many chances as I can for myself and then take them.”

Watmore’s impact off the bench at the start of the season saw him drafted into the England U21 squad for the first time; making his debut against the USA last week, albeit he was an unused substitute for Monday’s Euro 2017 qualifying win in Norway.

“There were all these established Premier League players that I was playing with, such as Nathan Redmond and James Ward-Prowse,” said the 21-year-old. “It was great to learn from them, be with them every day and get better.

“As far as me getting on against Norway, I was 30 seconds away from getting my second cap, but the fourth official said I was just a bit too late. These things don’t matter really though.

“We won the game and I enjoyed the experience.

“Gareth (Southgate, England U21 boss) and Steve Holland were great with me, not so much in telling you what to do, but ways to improve your game and what I did well.

“For example, I should have scored, but Gareth focused on the run I made in the first place. Those kind of things always help. You want as much feedback as you can.”