Lively forward on dealing with the pressure of helping Sunderland get out of trouble
Since breaking into the Sunderland side, the pressure of dealing with a relegation battle has sadly become the norm for livewire forward Duncan Watmore.
The 22-year-old was part of the squad that successfully managed to maintain top-flight status last season under Sam Allardyce, staying up with a game to spare.
And the determined England Under-21 international is convinced a turn around in fortunes is not too far away for David Moyes’ Sunderland team this season.
It needs to happen quickly, though.
Yet to win in the Premier League, Sunderland are bottom and already five points adrift after nine rounds of games ahead of the visit of second-top Arsenal tomorrow lunchtime.
Watmore, one of several younger players fielded by Moyes this season, admits it can be hard playing in a struggling side when you break through to first-team football.
But he insists he is thriving on the added responsibility as the Black Cats look to turn their season around.
“It’s obviously hard,” Watmore told the Echo.
“You want to be winning games, but I’m part of the team now and I have to take responsibility for that. I want to take responsibility for that.
“I want to help this team climb up the table by producing better performances as a team. I think we can do that.
“You want to be winning games in my position, but I’ve got to be taking responsibility in my position and all the lads do.”
Is it hard to stay positive, though, with Sunderland failing to win in the league all season?
“It’s hard but you’ve got to be positive, you’ve got to look at the positives and take them into the next game,” added Watmore.
“We’re doing everything right on the training pitch and we know it’s going to click.
“Hopefully we can do that.”
Watmore believes hard graft on the training ground at the Academy of Light, coupled with a positive mindset will see the club’s fortunes turn.
And he is confident that first win is not too far away.
“Definitely. We feel positive about it,” added Watmore.
“You can’t just keep getting bogged down and keep getting frustrated.
“We’re all frustrated and we’re all hurting but you can’t let it affect you on the pitch. We’ve got to keep positive.
“If we keep doing the right things, keep sticking together and keep a positive attitude within the camp, that can only lead to good things.
“It’s very hard to do when you’re losing games but there’s no point turning that into a negative.
“We need to turn that into a positive and say we need to win this game, we need to stick together and work hard and we know as a team we can do that.”
Sunderland have been beaten by a single goal on six occasions this season, the latest the midweek EFL Cup defeat to Southampton, a stunning Sofiane Boufal strike the difference between the sides.
It was an improved Sunderland display, but it was against a youthful second-string Saints side, with Claude Puel making nine changes.
“It’s frustrating, You feel like you’re playing well but not well enough. You need to play well enough in this league, we know that,” added Watmore.
“We need to make sure we get results in this league for the fans and for the club.
“It was a great goal. Sometimes they go in and you’ve just got to keep going and make sure you respond, but we just couldn’t do that, which was unfortunate.
“The fans travelled all the way across the country on a Wednesday night and they were still cheering us the end. We trying to do it for them.
“We need to keep doing the right things, keep working hard on the training pitch and make sure we’re giving everything on the pitch.
“That’s what we know we’re doing but we’ve got to make sure something changes and changes quick and we get that result that can kick-start our season.”
One of the positives from the Saints defeat was Victor Anichebe, who finally managed to play a full 90 minutes – his first since arriving on a free this summer. Watmore added: “I thought he played very well and he was good for me to run off and work off. “
“He worked very hard up there. That can only be good for our season.”