Duncan Watmore reacts to major Sunderland milestone and has a message for fans
The win over Tranmere Rovers carried extra significance for Duncan Watmore.
Not only did he net once and lay on two fine assists for his teammates as Sunderland returned to winning ways, but the forward was handed two starts in the space of four days for the first time since October 2016.
It’s a major milestone passed in Watmore’s recovery, and one he’s ‘proud’ to have hit.
“I obviously feel good in terms of scoring and the result, and that I got through the two games,” he admitted.
“But it's a lot for me in terms of what I'm used to the last three and a half years. My legs are definitely feeling it but I really enjoyed it.
“I definitely feel like I've got that sharpness. I probably can't recreate as much as I would like to sometimes, but I'm hoping that will come the more I play.
“It's been such a long time out without regular football. I can't remember the last time I did Saturday-Tuesday starts….
“It's been a long road and I'm proud of myself for doing it after everything I've been through.”
Watmore’s second half withdrawal saw the Stadium of Light rise to their feet to salute his fine performance, and the winger was quick to thank supporters for sticking by his side through a testing period.
“It means a lot, it really does,” added the forward.
“I know how patient they've been with me and I've had to stay patient myself.
“The past however long, it's been incredibly tough to stay patient, stay motivated and stay confident and believe in yourself.
“I've managed to do that and performances like this and receptions like that make it all worthwhile. I'm very grateful.”
Watmore, though, is wary not to raise expectations too high - with a rest likely in the coming weeks.
“It's quite clear that I haven't got the same robustness that I once had which I want to get back.
“I'm sure it will be a case of managing it. We've got a really good squad of players so it will be hard for me to stay in the starting eleven as well.
“It's just taking it each week as it comes.”