Elliott Dickman reveals the big Bali Mumba dilemma facing Sunderland

Elliott Dickman admits Sunderland are facing a dilemma over Bali Mumba - as they seek to find a permanent position for the youngster.

Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 2:17 pm

Mumba, who was a regular in the first team squad in the opening half of last season, mainly operated in central midfield for Jack Ross’ side.

But the opening games of the new Premier League 2 campaign have seen the 17-year-old feature as a full-back for Dickman’s under-23 side - and the Black Cats’ coach admits nailing down a position for the youngster is a priority.

“We played Bali a little bit out of position last season to get him some game time and some minutes,” he admitted.

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Sunderland are keen to nail-down Bali Mumba's permanent position
Sunderland are keen to nail-down Bali Mumba's permanent position

“Obviously we need to look at what is his best position and what’s going to suit Bali for his development.

“Once we nail that down, we’ll be pushing Bali as much as we can.”

Mumba has already shown his versatility this term, having played in a number of positions for Sunderland’s second string.

And while Dickman can see the positives to such flexibility, he remains keen to find a permanent home for Mumba.

The natural fit seems to be central midfield - but the under-23 boss believes the youngster has work to do on that front.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing that he can be versatile,” added Dickman.

“Playing in a few roles is good, but the danger of that is that he can become one of those players who fits in a role but doesn’t master one.

“If you spoke to Bali, I would imagine he would want to play in central midfield.

“He played there for us in pre-season and did fine in the games and we’ve been pleased.

“That could be his position. However, he does need to improve on quite a number of things if he wants to play in that position.

“Not so much with the ball, it’s more without the ball. From a tactical point of view he just needs to maybe understand a little bit more on where he needs to be, picking up second balls.”