Alex Neil’s behind the scenes compliment to Alex Pritchard that Sunderland fans will love after League One play-off final win over Wycombe at Wembley

While Sunderland playmaker Alex Pritchard was speaking to the media at Wembley Stadium, his head coach Alex Neil intervened. “What a player!” said the Black Cats boss while pointing at his No 10, “What a player!”

Sunday, 22nd May 2022, 4:00 pm

Pritchard has been one of the first names on Neil’s team sheet when available and was named man of the match in the League One play-off final against Wycombe.

His assist for Ross Stewart ten minutes from time capped off an excellent display from the former Huddersfield man, who signed a two-year deal on Wearside last summer.

With Patrick Roberts and Elliot Embleton cutting in from the flanks and Stewart dropping deep, Wycombe simply couldn’t live with Sunderland’s forward players when the Black Cats attacked.

Alex Pritchard playing for Sunderland at Wembley (Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images)

Pritchard was the pick of the bunch, though, making four key passes (according to Whoscored.com) which led to goalscoring chances, more than any other player on the pitch.

The 29-year-old was also effective when he drifted out to the right and was able to deliver in-swinging balls into the box.

Of Pritchard’s nine attempted crosses, five found a Sunderland team-mate, while they regularly caused panic in Wycombe’s penalty area.

As a player who has played in the Championship for most of his career, Pritchard’s experience is likely to be important next season following spells with Brentford, Norwich and Huddersfield in the second tier.

Even when Sunderland were struggling halfway through the campaign, the playmaker’s leadership qualities were apparent, and he was often the man stepping up in difficult moments.

After a stop-start first season at Sunderland due to injury and fitness setbacks, Pritchard certainly stepped up at Wembley. What a player!