JACK Colback will not “get the hump” with Martin O’Neill if the new Sunderland boss continues to hand him a bit-part role.
Colback has started more games than any other Sunderland central midfielder this season, but found himself among the substitutes for the second successive game yesterday – coming off the bench to grab his first for the Black Cats.
The 22-year-old was dropped for last week’s victory at QPR as O’Neill restored skipper Lee Cattermole to the starting line-up and was a premature inclusion in yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Everton after replacing the injured Titus Bramble midway through the first half.
The reshuffle saw Colback filling in on the left flank, but with O’Neill flush with central midfield options and the ex-Ipswich loanee still learning his trade as a Premier League player, he expects to be in and out of the side.
Colback said: “If the manager decides to change the team and leave me out, then there’s obviously a reason for that.
“I think I’ve done as well as I’d have hoped so I’m not going to get the hump at getting dropped.
“Now I’ve just got to push on and try to get my place back in the side. With the squad we have, I think it’s going to happen all season.
“There’s a lot of good players where I play so I didn’t get too disheartened by losing my place and he’s brought me on two times at key moments in the last two games. Obviously, it was forced upon us yesterday, but I’m enjoying playing and hopefully I can get back to starting games pretty soon.
“I’ve played at left-back and left wing when I was down at Ipswich so it’s not unnatural to me. You’ve just got to do a job for the team. It’s the same with everyone – Gards (Craig Gardner) came on at right-back and I thought he did well.”
Colback vowed to take the credit for his goal despite the 26th minute strike taking a hefty deflection off Sylvain Distin.
But the game’s big talking point arrived four minutes into the second half when referee Howard Webb (pictured, left) awarded Everton a spot-kick despite replays showing there was clearly no contact on Toffees midfielder Leon Osman.
“It doesn’t matter how they go in, a goal’s a goal,” added Colback.
“I’d be pretty disappointed if it was taking away from me.
“It’s clearly not a penalty, but football, particularly in the Premier League, is such a fast-paced game.
“The referee has only got a split second and he’s decided to give it. I’m sure in other games, we’ll get ones that maybe shouldn’t have been.
“But it’s obviously disappointing to concede when it wasn’t a pen. We’ve got to forget about that now though and move on. It was the type of game where it’s more of a grind and a battle, rather than good football and the conditions didn’t help with the wind.
“But we know Everton are a really tough side to beat and I thought we had chances to go on and win it.”