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.
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.
“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.”