RICKY ALVAREZ has high hopes for the second half of the season after so far seeing his loan move from Italian giants Inter Milan marred by injury frustration.
Argentine international Alvarez has been limited to just four Premier League appearances for Sunderland since arriving at the Stadium of Light in the summer after being sidelined for two months with a knee problem.
The 26-year-old has made his return from the bench in the last two outings, but he has only been able to show fleeting glimpses of the ability which persuaded Sunderland to sign him from Inter on loan, with a view to a £7million permanent switch at the end of the season.
Alvarez is coy on whether he expects that permanent clause to be activated, but is eager to show Sunderland fans why he arrived on Wearside with big expectations resting on his shoulders.
He told the Echo: “No doubt my aim is to do my absolute best this year and it wasn’t really the best start for me.
“But there is a lot left, and a lot left this season.
“What happens at the end of the season, will ultimately happen.
“But my aim now is to do my best and give a good account of myself.
“I’m coming back to my best physical condition and I’m improving in footballing terms too.
“I’m doing everything I can so that when I get out on the pitch, I can do my best.
“You wouldn’t wish on any player that when they arrive at a new club, they’d have the bad fortune to get injured.
“But it’s part of our profession and you simply have to get on with it.
“These last few months have served as an opportunity to get to know my team-mates, get to know the club and also get to know England a lot better, which I didn’t know until now.
“But now I’m very keen to go out and do my best on the field which is what I’m here for.”
Gus Poyet has publicly spoken of how he believes Alvarez could make the difference in improving Sunderland’s goal threat after the Black Cats have averaged less than goal per game so far this season.
And those words have been welcomed by Alvarez, who believes head coach Poyet is giving him the freedom to express himself.
“A player really likes to hear that they’ve got the trust of their head coach,” he added.
“Gus is really the main reason why I’m here.
“He trusted in me and my ability, to bring me here.
“Now I’m looking to return that faith.
“Gus gives me a lot of freedom when I play and that’s something I really like.
“I’m not fixed to one particular position, I’m able to move around wherever the spaces are.
“It is a very competitive league, but I think that I’m good enough to do well here.
“And I’ve been fortunate to find team-mates here who have helped me to express myself.”