Gary Rowell: Amid the doom and gloom this Sunderland defender is proving to be the signing of the summer

Sunderland have brought a lot of new faces to Wearside since the end of last season and while this new campaign is still only 11 games old, Jordan Willis looks the pick of those new signings for me.

Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 6:00 pm
Jordan Willis in action for Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

I would also say he has been Sunderland’s most consistent player overall, not a high bar admittedly, and I think he will get better as he settles into his new surroundings.

If he gets a regular partner at the back, that will help because already he has played alongside Tom Flanagan, Alim Ozturk and now Joel Lynch so I am hoping that this new partnership will develop and become permanent.

Willis is right-footed and Lynch left, so there is a natural balance there but they must be on the same wavelength and compliment each other’s style if this partnership is to flourish and maybe then we will get some clean sheets.

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The two centre-backs are the most important partnership in any team, remember back a few years when Leicester City won the Premier League and how important Robert Huth and Wes Morgan were at the heart of their defence.

Individually neither Morgan or Huth, would have been in the top ten centre backs in the Premier League but together there was no better defensive partnership and that is what mattered.

My favourite Sunderland goal this season wasn’t one of Max Power’s long-range efforts, as good as they were, it was Jordan Willis’ magnificent header against Portsmouth that paved the way for Sunderland’s first league win.

Sunderland went into that game on the back of two frustrating draws so they knew they couldn’t afford to lose or even draw again and that is what made his goal so important and something he that has got in his locker that I would like to see again.

Willis has pace, a physical presence and looks a natural leader so he has the basic tools for a good player to emerge.

Does he have weaknesses?

Of course he does or he would already be playing Premier League and not the third tier of English football.

Overall though in these dark, turbulent times on Wearside it is just my opinion but I think he looks a bright spot and we haven’t too many of them at the moment.