Phil Parkinson reveals the unsung hero in Sunderland's recent good form and succeeding system

Phil Parkinson believes Charlie Wyke has been an unsung hero in Sunderland’s improved results and performances of late.

Saturday, 15th February 2020, 6:00 am
Phil Parkinson says Charlie Wyke's contributions off the ball have been key for Sunderland

While Wyke has scored some key goals since Parkinson’s arrival, he has not been prolific and in recent times Lynden Gooch and Chris Maguire have been the team’s biggest goal threats.

The Black Cats is nevertheless a big fan of the 27-year-old, and when discussing his side’s excellent recent record of clean sheets, highlighted why he has put so much faith in him.

“It goes hand-in-hand with what I've been saying about the work ethic of the team,” Parkinson said.

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“I'd put Charlie Wyke in that category.

“I think his last two performances have been excellent.

“A lot of what he does for the team goes unnoticed, tactically he is very switched on out of possession and he allows the players around him to have more freedom.

“It's hard to carry any player who has not got an understanding of the role, who isn't prepared to do it, and Charlie has typified what you need in the last two games.

“That work ethic and honesty spread through the team and we've got to keep it there.”

Wyke led Sunderland’s pressing game superbly against Rochdale, with the Black Cats 3-0 up and just about of sight before half-time.

Before that game, assistant Steve Parkin gave an insight in the tactical work the backroom staff have been doing to help Wyke make an even greater impact.

"It's not always easy when you have to tie up two centre-halves, and sometimes three,” Parkin said.

"We've insisted that he needs to get across people inside the box, and he is doing that better now - one example was his goal at Tranmere.

“He's capable of running in behind which is really important, we don't just want him to be a targetman in terms of playing long balls forward from the back - he's got the physical capability to run down the side of defenders.

“His running stats are really good, he tires out centre-halves, and those are all positives for us in the way we want to play.

"He ticks every box, really.”