Jack Ross drops big hint on Luke O'Nien's Sunderland position this season

Jack Ross has signalled that Luke O’Nien is set to stay in the wing-back role that he has played throughout pre-season.

Saturday, 3rd August 2019, 08:00 am
Luke O'Nien is likely to continue at wing back as the new campaign begins

O’Nien was originally signed as a mdifielder last summer but thrived at right-back in the second half of the season, named young player of the year by supporters.

Ross did hint at the start of pre-season that he could be tested further forward, but a switch to a new system has seen the 24-year-old play exclusively at wing-back, with Conor McLaughlin adding protection on the right of the back three.

The Black Cats boss has not ruled out a move further forward at some stage but believes the current role is perfect for O’Nien’s energetic style.

“I've never really pigeonholed him but I think if you spoke to Luke himself, he'd recognise the progress he's made in that position,” Ross said.

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“It did puzzle me last year when there was the clamour for him to play in a position different to the one that he was young player of the year in.

“In that area of the pitch we've got a lot of good players. It's not ruling him out playing there, we'll tweak things as we go but certainly, the attributes you need to play [at wing-back] and what we've worked on in pre-season, it very much suits him.

“It's just pleasing how much he's grown as a player in the 12 months he's been here as well, I think he'll admit that he's come on more than he would have imagined in a relatively short period of time.”