EMANUELE Giaccherini is playing well enough to deserve a place in Sunderland’s starting line-up admits Gus Poyet.
But the Black Cats’ boss still plans to use the Italian international as super-sub as things stand.
He told the Echo: “I feel for Giacchy because he has been outstanding in training this week, as has Oscar Ustari for that matter.
“Under normal circumstances, when players play that well you would look to put them in the starting XI.
“But for the moment it is hard for them to break into the side - it’s a little like Fabio Borini earlier in the season when he was playing well but we couldn’t find a clear place in our set up for him.”
Poyet insists though that Giaccherini’s role is as important to the squad as those that start the game.
In his last three games, the Italian international has set up three goals and scored another - his fifth of the season - and his head coach believes that he has been a perfect impact sub to come on and exploit the tiring legs of opponents.
“He has been great for us in the last few weeks and is showing himself to be just the sort of player I thought he was going to when I first got to the club.
“I’m glad he has been more involved and I’ll know he would prefer to start but I need to convince him that at the moment, he has a role to fulfil and it is a vital one for us.
“One of the hardest things a manager has to do is to convince a player who is not in the starting line-up of how important he is.
“Why is it hard? Because it doesn’t sound genuine.
“The player’s entitled to say - if I’m so important, then why am not in the starting 11? I would have said that when I was playing.
“But it doesn’t matter - you can be just as important to the team as a substitute.
“The game I always go back to is a Man United game against Watford in the 1990s where Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole were on the bench, were being rested, and the scoreline was 0-0 - at 70 minutes - with Yorke and Cole on the bench!
“But then United brought those two on.
“Final score? 4-0 to United. I watched that game and it was 4-0 because they were fresh when others were tired.
“I remember Cardiff City away in December with Jack Colback and Craig Gardner coming on and changing the game for us, Adam Johnson has done that for us, so has Fabio Borini.
“At the moment, it is Giaccherini who is coming on and exploiting the fatigue in opposition legs.
“That’s where he has been making the difference for us, he has been coming on and making the most of his advantage.
“He may not have been starting games but he is still very important to us.”