JACK Colback says he may only be 21 but he still has the experience to help Sunderland out of the pit the club has plummeted into over the last couple of months.
The young midfielder was handed his first Premier League start in the Black Cats’ trip to Birmingham City last Saturday and didn’t let anyone down.
He was one of several positives in a bright display which nevertheless ended in a 2-0 defeat and extended an horrific run which now stretches to eight defeats and a draw in Sunderland’s last nine games.
Colback, though, says he will not allow himself to be downhearted or discouraged by the run of results and the club’s slide down the Premier League table – though Birmingham City’s defeat at Chelsea last night saw Sunderland climb to 14th place on goals scored from the West Midlands side.
“I’m embracing it,” he said. “You can’t go in with any fear. If you do, you’re going to make mistakes as you play.
“I’ve experienced this before.
“Down at Ipswich at the start of last season, we went 15 games with a win and it was experience I needed, looking back.
“Roy Keane wasn’t too happy. He was putting the pressure on to say the least!
“It was a relief when we finally got the win.
“If I’d only ever been through the good times, with no bad, it would have hit me hard.
“But everyone will come through this better than before.
“I think you are born with the character to come through it.
“Everyone deals with the uncertainty differently – some find it raises their game, others don’t.
“But it is a time for everyone to raise their games and not be scared to do the things we’ve been doing all season.
“People might say I’m inexperienced. but age doesn’t matter when it comes to dealing with this sort of pressure.
“Twenty-one is quite old in football anyway – look at your Rooneys and the rest, they’ve been to a World Cup by that age. That’s football – there is pressure and you have to deal with it.”
Colback hopes that this Saturday’s home clash with Wigan will mark a turning point in Sunderland’s fortunes and that finally they can turn the corner.
“The confidence has always been high in the dressing room,” he said. “We’ve got a really good set of lads with plenty of ability and we have to stay confident.
“We haven’t turned into a bad team overnight – a month-and-a-half ago we were seventh.”