Lee Johnson's clear message on 'unique' Nathan Broadhead as he weighs up Sunderland XI

Lee Johnson says Nathan Broadhead has ‘absolutely’ given him a selection dilemma ahead of Saturday’s crunch game against Ipswich Town.

By Phil Smith
Friday, 19th November 2021, 5:13 pm

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Broadhead was the main positive from Sunderland’s two recent cup fixtures, returning to fitness from a hamstring injury and scoring an excellent goal against Bradford City in the Papa John’s Trophy.

The Everton loanee had excelled in an emphatic win against Cheltenham Town before suffering the problem that kept him sidelined for a month.

Now back to full fitness, Johnson says he is ‘definitely’ working towards building into his Sunderland starting XI on a more regular basis.

Nathan Broadhead is pushing for a place in Sunderland's starting XI

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“Absolutely, he has given me food for thought,” Johnson said.

“Nathan is really good player, I love watching him play and I love working with him.

“We’re very grateful to Everton for trusting us with his development.

“He brings us a really unique attribute in terms of that snapshot finishing. You saw it in that game against Bradford City, and we see that every day in training.

“He also has that turn of speed and a willingness to play on the front foot.

“He hasn’t had as many minutes so far as he probably would have hoped, but that has mainly been circumstantial in terms of a) the good start that the team had and b) the injury that he ended up having.

“He’s definitely someone that we’re working at getting into the starting XI and into the squad more than he has so far, and we’re looking forward to seeing that bear fruit in the upcoming games.”

Broadhead was sidelined for longer than initially hoped but is back to full fitness now and says those cup appearances can be a ‘stepping stone’ for a productive rest of the season.

“You have to take time and I was meant to be out for two weeks but I felt a little bit in there so I rested a few more weeks to get it right,” he said.

“I have done it before and I know what it’s like so you just have to pull yourself through and build myself up again.

“This is a stepping stone for the rest of the season.

"It was a difficult time out and I’ve worked hard in the gym to try and get my fitness up. Hopefully I will be rewarded.”

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