Lee Johnson discusses Dion Sanderson's future and his hopes for Wolves loanee at Sunderland

Sunderland are hoping that Dion Sanderson will remain on Wearside for the duration of his loan deal, though Lee Johnson admits Wolves were 'frustrated' with his limited gametime.

Saturday, 9th January 2021, 9:00 am

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Sanderson was an eye-catching deadline day addition earlier this season, having impressed at Cardiff City in the Championship last season.

He nevertheless struggled to break into the team under Phil Parkinson, to widespread surprise.

Sanderson has appeared in Sunderland's three league fixtures, and impressed when asked to fill in for Denver Hume and Callum McFadzean at Northampton Town last Saturday.

Sunderland defender Dion Sanderson

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Johnson held constructive talks with Wolves in the early stages of his tenure and is hopeful that he has convinced the Premier League club that there will be regular opportunities ahead.

"I'd like to keep him, first and foremost," Johnson said.

"I had a discussion with Wolves about that quite early [in my tenure] and I think they were understandably a little bit frustrated with his gametime.

"But I think we've proved that it is there for him and with as many games as we have coming up, he's a player I like, he's a good lad, trains well and has some real quality.

"He's got to stay switched on, and make sure he's a warrior as well as an artist. We want the artist second but he's shown he can do that. He's shown quality in games and in training sessions."

Sanderson's versatility could be key for Sunderland in the months ahead, with a hectic fixture schedule set to pose significant challenges.

"I think in the long-term, it's almost like he's a Premier League centre half and a lower-level right back, if that makes sense," Sanderson said.

"What I like about him is he's got a lot of physical maturation still to come.

"Technically, he's as good as anything in the division in terms of being a ball-playing centre half. Physically he's big and has a good frame, but there's still maturation to come in terms of muscle mass etc. Tactically, he's a young lad learning his game.

"He's got a good future and I'm very grateful to have him here in the building."

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