Rowell Report: Why the return of Duncan Watmore is so important to this Sunderland side

Duncan Watmore.
Duncan Watmore.
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It hasn’t been a great few weeks for Sunderland fans with just one point from the last 15 available, but one piece of good news that has shone through the gloom is the return of Duncan Watmore.

Of course he will still be some way from a first team start as he will need more Under-23 games to gain match fitness, but his return to the senior squad can’t come quickly enough for me.

His absence really has been a massive blow for Sunderland as his lightning pace can unsettle any defence, but he has also got a great attitude and the sort of work ethic that the fans love to see.

He can also play through the middle or in wider positions so will be able to adapt easily to any system Simon Grayson chooses to play.

Before his injury last season, I saw him make life very uncomfortable for very good Premier League defenders, so if he is back to his best and fully fit he can cause havoc in the Championship.

Of course, Watmore wasn’t the finished article even before his serious injury, but he is bright and a quick learner and he was improving with every game before injury struck.

More goals and a better final ball would probably be the two things I would like to see him improve on.

But he strikes me as the sort of lad who would recognise his own weaknesses and would work tirelessly on the training pitch to eradicate them.

When he does get back in the first team fold, he will probably be introduced gently with a few games coming off the bench, but even in that role he is dangerous and can turn things around when defenders are tiring.

I get the feeling that Simon Grayson would love Duncan Watmore and can’t wait to work with him as he is the sort of character who would do exactly as the manager wants in the best interests of the team.

He is young and after a long lay-off must be hungry to get back and he really will be like a new signing, maybe Sunderland’s best one.