Lynden Gooch on USA international hopes and stellar Sunderland form

Sunderland's Lynden Gooch continues to harbour international hopes
Sunderland's Lynden Gooch continues to harbour international hopes
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Lynden Gooch is enjoying the best season of his career so far.

The 22-year-old winger has been involved in more goals this campaign than in his three previous years at Sunderland combined, and is one of the first names on the team sheet under new manager Jack Ross.

In his 14 appearances for the Black Cats this term, Gooch has scored three goals and provided six assists for the Wearsiders - stats which are ‘incredible’ according to Ross.

But the USA international has his eye on another milestone later this month - the small matter of playing for his national side against England at Wembley on November 15.

Gooch, who was born in Santa Cruz, California to an English father and Irish mother, has been capped four times by the Yanks but hasn’t featured on the international stage since a brief substitute appearance against Bolivia back in May.

But the midfielder hopes his recent performances can attract the attention of interim manager Dave Sarachan - who took temporary charge at the end of last year.

“Of course, I think it would be an amazing thing to be a part of,” Gooch told the Echo when asked if he was targeting a recall against England.

“Being in this country for seven years now it would mean a lot to me to get called up.”

“It’s something I would like to but it’s difficult in League One, we’ve got quite a few players playing in the Champions League for America now so we’ll see what happens.”

One thing that could work in Gooch’s favour is his versatility and proven ability to adapt.

The Sunderland man started his side’s League One opener against Charlton on the left flank, but was converted into a wing-back in a 3-5-2 formation at half-time.

Gooch has been deployed as a wing-back for most of the campaign, though in recent weeks he has reverted to a far more familiar berth on the right win.

The youngster has thrived in both roles, they key being his ability to make a contribution in the final third from both positions.

“I’ve really enjoyed it actually,” said Gooch. “I think some of our best performances as a team have been when we’re playing 3-5-2 with wing-backs.

“Obviously I’m getting the ball in good areas high up the pitch so I’ve really enjoyed it and hopefully it can continue.”

Despite his impressive performances, the tactical switch was a step into the unknown for Gooch.

“No never,” said the midfielder when asked if he had ever played as wing-back before. “The first time I’d played that position was the second half against Charlton in the opening game of the season.”

“It was something new, the gaffer knew I hadn’t played in that position but he knew I was capable of doing a job for the team and luckily it worked and it’s helped the team so far.”