Carl Winchester's brilliant verdict on his Sunderland role, the season so far and what's ahead

Carl Winchester is relishing his unfamiliar role as Sunderland's League One campaign enters a defining week.

Having moved to right back at the beginning of the campaign, Winchester was one of the club's most consistent players through the first half of the season and has excelled again having been moved to the right of a back three under Alex Neil.

Sunderland have three games left to try and secure their play-off spot and Winchester will likely be an integral part of Neil's plans.

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The 29-year-old says he is loving life under Neil and willing to do whatever takes to try and get his side over the line and back into the Championship.

Carl Winchester. Safc 1-0 Gtfc Efl1 Stadium of Light 02-04-2022. Picture by FRANK REID

"It's been quite a season for me, to play as many games as I have for a club like this," Winchester said.

"See as long as I'm playing, I'm happy. If the manager wants to me to play at left back, no problem. If he wants me to go in goal, I'll do a job.

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"I'll do anything to try and get this team promoted.

"I've really enjoyed the role to be fair, when the gaffer came in he just said that he felt I could cover the ground well, get up the pitch well, step in [with the ball] and join in the play which he likes," he added.

"I've enjoyed it, but he knows I'll play anywhere for him.

"He's been brilliant, he's just one of those managers that takes no [nonsense]. He's shown me a lot of stuff in terms of clips from games, always trying to improve me and help my game.

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"We all know where we stand: come in, work hard, take on information. He's done great so far."

Winchester has emerged as something of a cult hero this season, admitting he had to suppress a laugh in one game where him taking possession of the ball on the halfway line was met with cries of 'shoot' from the home crowd.

The Northern Irishman has previously been candid in admitting it took him time to adjust to the step up in intensity on Wearside but now he is flourishing and his determination to end the season in style for the supporters is clear.

"The fans have been unbelievable, it's their life, what they love," Winchester explained.

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"You get the chance to go out there and for 90 minutes, you have that opportunity to send them home happy. They might have had a tough week or whatever but for 90 minutes they forget about that, and you can make them happy.

"It's an unbelievable feeling that.

"Friends, people back home, no one can believe I'm playing for a club like Sunderland. You have to pinch yourself really.

"Coming from where I have, I so appreciate the opportunity, I'm just buzzing to be here and to win a promotion here, it's my number one dream really.

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"I don't see why not, we've got a good squad, we've got a good run, we're all onboard.

"Hopefully we can have that strong end to the season."