Gary Rowell: Duncan Watmore has to stay as Sunderland’s super-sub

Duncan Watmore
Duncan Watmore
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It’s good to see Duncan Watmore back from injury and doing what he’s done so well this season – coming off the bench and causing havoc.

Not every player has that ability, it takes some a while to adjust to the pace of the game, but Watmore doesn’t seem to have that problem and he’s as good as any Sunderland player in that role.

Having a super-sub tag is always a back-handed compliment, as any professional wants to start as well as finish a game and should never settle for anything else.

When I was beginning my career, there was only one sub allowed and there was a real stigma attached to the role. I knew plenty of players who if they weren’t starting games, would rather not be involved at all.

It’s different now with rotation, resting players and with so many on the bench. It’s more acceptable and a much more important role with managers able to change things far more with three subs allowed from the seven picked.

Having a strong bench is part of a team’s armoury now and often you can tell how good a team is by the quality they have in the dug-out.

With Watmore back, Sunderland are strengthened enormously, as he’s a great option for Sam Allardyce if things are not going well and I see this as his role for the remaining games of this campaign.

He’s still young so his time will come and I’ve no doubt that next season, we’ll see him pushing hard for a starting place.

But for now, he’s our super-sub – a maverick to bring off the bench who can change the course of the game.