Rowell Report: Sunderland’s Wickham has become a key man so quickly

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
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CONNOR Wickham’s performance against Manchester City was by far his best in a red and white shirt - not only for his two goals but for his all-round game, which was very impressive.

Up against a world-class central defender in Vincent Kompany, he gave the City captain a very difficult night, using his height and physical strength to full advantage, while also showing very good technique while the ball was at his feet.

Wickham held the ball up well, which allowed the team to move up and support him and this is something that Sunderland have failed to do for much of the season.

I saw signs in his previous game against Everton that things were coming together for him but he took his play up another level against City and two goals at a difficult venue should do wonders for his confidence.

It’s easy to forget that he’s still only 21 because of his huge transfer fee but I hope that we are about to see the best of him and he fulfils his potential.

Both his goals at the Etihad were well-taken but his second was special as I thought it was one of the best counter-attacking goals I’ve seen from any team this campaign.

I love strikers who are hungry for goals and he certainly showed his determination, after making a 60-yard sprint from his own half to take a pass from Emanuele Giaccherini, and the finish was emphatic.

With a goal at Chelsea to add to his double at Manchester City, Connor Wickham is now on a roll and in the four huge fixtures we have left, he has made himself one of the most important players in the team.