Duncan Watmore provides a different element to Sunderland’s attack, believes Sam Allardyce after handing the forward his first Premier League start.
Watmore was a surprise inclusion on the team sheet for Saturday’s defeat to Southampton after Allardyce preferred the 21-year-old to big money summer captures Jeremain Lens and Fabio Borini.
He’s scored a couple of goals when he’s come on as a sub, and I saw a couple of great runs at EvertonSam Allardyce
Allardyce had been impressed by Watmore’s contribution from the bench in the previous weekend’s defeat at Everton, even though the game had been over as a contest at Goodison Park.
England Under-21 international Watmore showed flashes of his direct running against the Saints, yet like all of Sunderland’s front-line, suffered from the Black Cats’ inability to enjoy any sustained possession and build an attacking platform.
“I think he’s got something in his make-up that other players haven’t,” said Allardyce.
“He likes to try to get in-behind defenders, get in between them and in on goal.
“He’s scored a couple of goals when he’s come on as a sub, and I saw a couple of great runs at Everton.
“I thought let’s see it from the start, let’s see what he’s got.
“He didn’t get any chances, but there were one or two runs which picked up the fans and got us up the other end of the field.
“But then, unfortunately, he didn’t produce any real quality to cause Southampton any problems.”
Allardyce admits the lack of attacking threat from Sunderland – who mustered just one meaningful effort on target – made Saturday’s encounter dire as a spectacle.
But he would have been pleased if Sunderland could have secured a goalless draw and at least added a point to their tally.
“It wasn’t entertaining what we saw because Southampton are a better side than us,” he added.
“But if you can take the point and respect the point as we should have done, it’s one more on our total and we move on.
“Another defeat makes you more desperate in the next game, and that’s what you’ve got to try to avoid.”