Sunderland boss outlines his view on Carl Winchester's short and long-term position in the side

Lee Johnson says he has no plans to move Carl Winchester back into midfield in the short term.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 6:00 am

Winchester' s winning goal against Accrington Stanley last Saturday capped a superb start to the campaign for the 28-year-old, who has excelled as a right back.

The arrival of Niall Huggins from Leeds United increased Johnson's options in that part of the pitch, but the Northern Irishman has been an integral part of the team's early-season rise to the top of the League One table.

Winchester remains a central midfield option, and impressed there against Blackpool in the Carabao Cup, but for now Johnson is happy to leave him in a role that he is relishing.

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Carl Winchester celebrates his winning goal against Accrington Stanley

It is also one that he has performed for Johnson at Oldham in the early stages of his career.

"Well the team is doing well and he's performing well in there, so it feels like the natural thing is just to leave him in that slot," Johnson said.

"I think what's impressed me most is the 1-v-1 defending that he's done.

"He's a good height and that helps out because with that extra height, you can play people like Elliot Embleton, Alex Pritchard, "Aiden McGeady, the ones who maybe aren't as suited to picking up from set plays.

"He's always been a technician, silky in the way he plays.

"He's another one where we've looked to add that extra power over the summer and he's done that.

"So far, so good.

"He's in a great place, he's just had a lovely baby as well so all is well for Winch."

That summer work has been evident in Winchester's increased physicality and athleticism, another factor in his apparent suitability to his new role.

"I think it's a bit of everything," Johnson said.

"It's the work he's put in himself, the work he has done with the team.

"I think in terms of the sports science, it's a different aerobic [capacity] because from full back it tends to be longer bursts, but less constant.

"That possibly suits him.

"He's in a good place, the lads love him, and I think that's so important."

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