MATT Kilgallon has told Jack Colback to consider plying his trade at left-back on a permanent basis, writes Chris Young.
Midfielder Colback has impressed as a makeshift full-back after starting each of Sunderland’s last three games in defence.
The 22-year-old is no stranger to life at left-back, having played in that role during his two loan spells with Ipswich and on two occasions for Sunderland in January.
But centre-half Kilgallon, who knows the difficulties of playing as an emergency full-back, has still been taken aback at how well Colback has adapted to life in defence.
The former Sheffield United defender has urged Colback to contemplate re-branding himself as a left-back, with the Tynesider predominantly playing in central midfield since his days at the Sunderland academy.
Kilgallon told the Echo: “I’ve said to him that he’s an outstanding left-back, always in the right position for a centre-half.
“I said ‘I don’t know if you want to play there, but think about it mate’. I think he’s top drawer there.
“He gave me a look to say ‘I’m not sure if I want to’, but as he gets older, he might realise there’s not many better than him there. He’s done great.
“When you look at him, he’s so composed on the ball and he doesn’t look fast but he can shift, gets in the right position and has got a great attitude.
“For a centre-half, it’s a bit different going out there. You do it now and then if your team is struggling and that’s what I did.
“It’s the same with Sheasy (John O’Shea) when he has to go out to right-back and help the team.
“But we’ve got three or four who can play left-back and Jack is doing well there, he’s a great player.”
Colback’s performances at left-back have been all the more impressive considering the players he has been up against.
In both encounters against Manchester City this season, he has subdued the threat of England winger Adam Johnson.
And he was similarly effective when Spurs winger Gareth Bale switched to the right flank last weekend, albeit the Welsh international beat the Sunderland man on one occasion during the second half.
“He’s been up against all the top players,” added Kilgallon.
“I think Bale went past him once last weekend and that was it and he had at least 10 go’s at him.”