Lynden Gooch is a “classic example” to any young player, believes Chris Coleman, with the Sunderland boss praising the American’s desire to improve.
Coleman told Gooch to work on his end product and decision-making, and the team has reaped the rewards with improved performances in recent games.
Sunderland’s survival hopes fade with every passing week, but Gooch has been a shining light in recent games.
He was the stand-put performer in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Leeds United, with his tenacious work rate catching the eye.
Coleman said: “Lynden Gooch was superb. He’s always had that energy, but now there’s an end product with it.
“The options he’s choosing are more and more the right ones, rather than running around with his head down and losing it. He’s got a lot better.
“I’ve got to take my hat off to Lynden because all the talk was about Joel Asoro and Josh Maja and I was the one who put him in the team in the first place, so it was probably my own fault.
“Lynden then lost his place and he came and had a conversation with me.
“I told him what I wanted and he’s gone away and delivered it.
“He’s played in the Under=23s, worked on the things I asked him to and he’s got his chance and he’s taken it.
“He’s a classic example to any younger player.
“You want to see younger players doing that and he’s come on the scene in the last three performances and been terrific, good for him – I’m pleased for him.”
Coleman also praised Marc Wilson, who deputised at left-back for the injured Bryan Oviedo at Elland Road.
“Oviedo had a glute injury,” added Coleman.
“We looked good defensively.
“I think people forget Marc’s had a lot of injuries – it’s been stop-start for him, so we haven’t been able to get him to a position to play 90 minutes, then 90 minutes.
“He missed a lot of football, but he’s an international footballer who’s played most of his (club) games in the top flight at full-back, central defender, holding midfielder – he’s one of those players.
“He did very, very well and he just let Aiden (McGeady) go. He didn’t really overlap – he’s never going to give you that – but he was just back-up and, defensively, he looked very good.”