KEVIN Ball believes Jack Colback could go on to be recognised as a fantastic servant for Sunderland Football Club after clocking up 100 appearances for the Black Cats so early in his career.
The 24-year-old reached a milestone in his career when he clocked up his century of appearances for the club last month.
Ironically, it came in the game against West Bromwich Albion which proved to be Paolo Di Canio’s last in charge of the club.
But while the Italian’s stay on Wearside was short, Colback could be at the club for the long haul.
And after joining the group of players who have made a significant contribution to the club by making more than 100 appearances for it, Ball believes the Academy youth product could go on to show his real worth in the seasons to come.
The acting head coach, who made 388 appearances for Sunderland between 1990-99, said: “I think Jack is a very, very good footballer.
“And I honestly think – and I told him this, so he won’t mind me saying it – that I’d like to see more out of Jack.
“I think there’s more to come from Jack.
“He’s reached the age of 24 now and he’s now got to come into that stage of his career where he shows everyone how good he is.
“And that’s something I would like to push with Jack.
“He is good but he can be even better and he has to bring that out of himself.”
Some fans have questioned what Colback brings to the team.
But since breaking through from the Academy under Roy Keane’s stewardship, managers Steve Bruce, Martin O’Neill and Paolo Di Canio have all seen fit to involve the Tynesider in their Sunderland teams.
And Ball said: “I think that if people feel that he isn’t particularly good, then they would be being unfair.
“You have to bear in mind too the positions he’s filled and how many he’s filled in.
“He’s been right back, left-back, centre-mid and not let the side down in any of those roles - there’s not many players who could achieve that.
“So I think he should be given an absolute pat on the back for that - that’s not to say that I don’t think he can do more, because I do.”
Di Canio wanted Colback to focus his career on being the best left-back he could but Ball still believes that central midfield is the new centurion’s best slot in the team..
“I think I would like to see him in midfield because I think that’s his natural position and it’s really difficult to see the best of players played out of position,” said Ball.
“I like to see him playing in midfield.
“But I would also like to compliment him on the job he has done at left-back because I think he does a great job there.”