Phil Parkinson reveals the training ground summit that transformed Chris Maguire's Sunderland career
Phil Parkinson has backed Chris Maguire to improve even further on his recent performance levels - having revealed details of the training ground summit that sparked his fine run of form.
The Sunderland forward has been nominated for League One’s player of the month after a January which saw him net three times while providing a trio of assists for his teammates.
And while pleased with the 31-year-old’s performances in recent weeks, and his work behind the scenes, Parkinson believes Maguire can ‘push on again’ in the coming weeks.
“Everybody knows with Chris that he’s always striving for that consistency level, and he’s starting to show that,” said the Sunderland boss.
“If you get yourself in good physical condition, you can keep producing the performances and I’m delighted for him because he’s got his reward in his performances.
“Now, the challenge for him is not to pat himself on the back too much - because we certainly won’t be giving him too much praise because I believe he’s got the ability to push on again.”
Maguire himself has been candid in his views on his physical shape prior to Parkinson’s arrival, and has previously explained how he shed weight in a bid to increase his match fitness.
And Parkinson has now revealed the meeting which prompted Maguire’s change in focus - and helped spark the run of form that saw him thrust into award contention alongside Peterborough’s Ivan Toney, Doncaster’s Tom Anderson and Steve Seddon of Portsmouth.
“I had a good chat with Chris, his agent and Nick Allamby,” he explained.
“We sat down a few months ago and spoke through the areas that he needed to improve on, in terms of the way he prepared for games, and he took it all on board.
“We’ve included his agent in that, who’s an ex-player, and I think that’s important because players sometimes need someone away from the training ground to keep chipping away at them.
“He’s done well, so we’re pleased with where he is. He’s found that consistent level, but I believe he should have that desire to push on again.”