Gary Rowell column – More to come from Sunderland’s Fletcher

Seb Larsson
Seb Larsson
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NORMALLY if you were to surrender the lead twice in a game you’d be disappointed.

But Sunderland could be more than happy on Saturday to leave the Liberty Stadium with a draw after twice being pegged back.

It was definitely a point gained rather than two dropped because a lot of teams will go to Swansea this season and leave empty-handed.

Although they’re far from being an established Premier League name and people perhaps under-estimate them for that reason, there’s no doubt now that they are a very good side, so the end result has to be seen as a decent one.

From a Sunderland viewpoint the game itself was all about Steven Fletcher.

If ever there was a dream debut this was it, and it was a case of another Martin O’Neill signing shining.

I’d say Carlos Cuellar was man-of-the-match in the Arsenal game, Adam Johnson in the Morecambe game and Fletcher at the weekend – so the boss has got to be happy with that!

But it was the Fletcher performance though that really pleased me because as a former striker I know how important it is to get a good start.

Fletcher seems level-headed for someone still only 25 but £12m is a big price tag to carry and if you don’t hit the ground running there’s always the danger it can become a bit of a millstone.

Thankfully that will not be the case now that he’s up and running and an instant hit with the fans.

His two goals showed that he’s far from being a targetman – his second was all about a goalscorer’s instinct and a predatory touch but his first showed that he will work hard to create mistakes in the opposition defence and that he has the ability to capitalise if any happen.

His control, vision, coolness under pressure and quality finish for that opening goal must have been hugely encouraging to Sunderland fans.

And for Fletcher it will release any self-imposed pressure he might have felt himself under.

Now he can go out and express himself freely in the weeks ahead knowing that every move he makes isn’t going to be scrutinised.

He’ll be feeling great at the moment but he’ll also be feeling that once he’s fully fit he can continue making a great impression.

You can tell that him and Stephane Sessegnon are not fully fit yet and you have to feel that the best is still very much to come from them.

READ the full Gary Rowell column in Tuesday’s Echo