SEB LARSSON is the Duracell Bunny within Sunderland’s ranks.
When the bulk of the Black Cats side hit the wall against Manchester City on Wednesday – as the exertions of last weekend’s draw with Chelsea took their toll – Larsson kept going.
The Swedish international was one of the few players on show who was able to maintain his performance levels in both meetings with the top two.
That work ethic is not lost on Gus Poyet.
Larsson played a key role in Sunderland’s dramatic escape from the drop at the end of last season and has been an ever-present in the Premier League this time around after signing a new contract during the summer.
Poyet told the Echo: “We’ve got players in here that are going to do things all the time.
“For a manager, that’s perfect.
“You know that Seb is going to run the most, in terms of distances, going and coming back, and then going again.
“When Seb is good on the ball, his delivery is great and he gets crosses into the box, then on his day, he’s close to the perfect midfielder.
“You cannot be at that level all the time, with that amount of effort.
“But the things we learned a lot last year from our last five incredible games is that to win in the Premier League, you need legs.
“Unless you are incredibly gifted technically, where every single one doesn’t give the ball away, you need legs.
“You need to run and cover the ground. Seb has got that.
“It was a great option to keep Seb in the summer.
“It wasn’t easy, but we got him.”
Poyet could opt to give one of his midfield three a breather for tomorrow’s trip to Liverpool, with both Jordi Gomez and Liam Bridcutt able to offer fresh legs.
It’s not the only consideration which will come into Poyet’s thinking, as Sunderland vie for a first victory at Anfield since 1983.
But it’s clearly a factor which the head coach is mindful about.
“I know a bit better when you need to change Seb or you need to change Lee (Cattermole) because you need legs,” he added.
“Depending on who is the other midfielder, you need to compensate.
“Lee, Seb and Jack Colback gave us so much in the midfield last season because the three of them have plenty of legs.
“You don’t just look at legs. You don’t buy legs, you buy football players.
“But it’s something you need to be aware of because when you only bring in those technically gifted players and you’ve got four or five, you’re going to suffer if you’re not in control.”