JACK Colback knows he has to add goals to his game if he is to establish himself as a genuine Premier League force.
The 21-year-old continues to make good progress in his Sunderland career, having established himself as a fixture in the squad and a regular starter this season.
But the midfielder, guilty of a disappointing miss from seven yards at Arsenal last Sunday, knows that being able to find the back of the net is his next step.
“One thing I want to try to improve on is my goalscoring,” he said.
“I’ve scored at youth level and Reserve level in the past and at Championship level with Ipswich Town.
“Now I’ve got to do it in the Premier League with Sunderland.
“It’s a new challenge every time you move up a level but I want to do it and I need to do it because it’s such an important part of the modern game for a midfielder.
“I got a few at Ipswich but not a lot – though I was played at left-back quite a few times.”
The Tynesider scored four times for the Blues and though he is yet to break his Premier League duck, he’s pinning his hopes on it not being long now.
“I like getting forward and if I keep making the runs and getting into the box then hopefully it will come,” he said.
“Hopefully I can add that 10 or so goals to my season because I think that’s becoming pretty much essential for Premier League midfielders these days. A big thing people look at when they assess you as a player is your goalscoring because it’s too big a job to leave it purely to your strikers.
“I don’t think it’s too hard to ask you to get eight or 10 goals a season.
“I think it’s just practice added to confidence and belief and making the right decisions when you’re on the ball and you’ve got the chance. After training we do a bit shooting practice and that’s what I’m looking to work on.
“Craig Gardner’s always doing that and I look to join in – it’s one of those things that you just keep working at and hope it happens for you.”
The Arsenal miss was disappointing for the player but he accepts that it’s the nature of the game for him that he’s going to have to learn his trade in the full glare of the spotlight.
“There’s a lot of pressure on you because everyone’s watching you – it’s the biggest league in the world. I’ll probably end up having one go in off my shin or my knee and I’ll go on to get a few from there.
“It happened to me at Ipswich, I got one and then I got three or four close together. Maybe history will repeat itself. I hope so because I’m desperate to do well here at Sunderland and stay part of the team.
“I can play a variety of positions and I think that’s a help when it comes to making the squad. It’s useful to the manager if you can play left-back, left-wing and central midfield but central midfield is definitely my preference.
“I feel I can get involved more there and influence the game more and if I add goals to my game I’ve more of a chance of keeping that position.”