Lee Johnson has this verdict on Chris Maguire's Sunderland role

Lee Johnson has insisted that Chris Maguire will have a part to play for Sunderland between now and the end of the season.

Friday, 5th February 2021, 5:00 pm

A key player under the club's previous two managers, Maguire has found his game time limited since Johnson's arrival.

Though he returned to the matchday squad on Tuesday night, the 32-year-old has only started one Papa John's Trophy game under the new head coach.

Johnson says that the hectic schedule facing Sunderland means the attacking midfielder has to be ready for when his chance comes.

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Sunderland forward Chris Maguire

"He's in the squad, he's travelling tomorrow," Johnson said.

"We couldn't get him on the pitch Tuesday night but if I'd had a sixth sub I would have.

"He's an important player, as every player still in the building is.

"Now what we've got is a period where everybody knows the uncertainty of the window has gone, this is the group now and everyone within that has got to fire us to success.

"Everybody, including the younger players, has to be switched on for when they are wanted and needed for first-team selection."

Maguire's chances have increased following the deadline day departure of Elliot Embleton, who signed a new contract before joining Blackpool on loan until the end of the season.

Embleton had moved ahead of Maguire in the pecking order but with Johnson unable to guarantee the 21-year-old regular starts, the player has opted to try and prove himself at third-tier level.

Johnson said that he would 'absolutely' need Maguire's attributes between now and the end of the season as a result.

Maguire is one of a host of Sunderland players whose contract expires this summer.

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