Jordan Willis talks Premier League ambitions, social media and reveals message to Sunderland teammates about thriving under pressure
Pressure and scrutiny comes with the territory of playing for the largest club in League One and Jordan Willis believes the Sunderland squad must thrive on it.
The ex-Coventry City defender has ambitions of playing in the Premier League one day and insists the squad has what it takes to make the first step on the ladder and win promotion back to the Championship.
Sunderland - favourites to win promotion - have won three and drawn two of their opening six but the players came in for criticism following the limp 3-0 defeat at Peterborough United.
The fact a two-week international break followed didn’t help matters, with longer to stew on the result and performance.
Willis admits it was a ‘tough’ decision to leave Coventry but says the time was right for a new challenge - winning promotion at Sunderland.
“The drive is there to get the club back to where it belongs,” said Willis.
“It’s not just there in our group or the staff here, the fans have that ambition too and you can feel it.
“If you look at the stadium and the number of fans we get home and away, it is a special club to play for.
“You can’t help but see things on social media.
“When it is there on Twitter and you’re scrolling through you do see what the fans are saying but the ambition for this club and the expectation is massive.
“We have to thrive upon that and make sure that drives us on. You can’t read into things and shy away from the fact that we want to get promoted this year.
“You have to take everything on board and reply on the pitch in the right way. That is all you can do.
“As players we don’t have to panic because we know within ourselves, and the squad we have, that if things go well this season we should be able to get out of this league.”
On his own ambitions, Willis added: “I have always said that I want to play at the highest level possible, so that would be the Premier League.
“Whether that happens or not remains to be seen but I will keep striving to play at the best of my ability and hopefully that can help me fulfil those ambitions.
“This is a football club that can get out of this division and continue to progress.”