The impressive aspects of Leon Dajaku's game and what he'll look to improve after his Sunderland debut at Wigan
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Less than five minutes had been played at Wigan’s DW Stadium when the German winger played a neat pass infield from the right to set up Alex Pritchard, before the latter’s shot was deflected wide for a corner.
When Dajaku, 20, joined Sunderland on loan from Union Berlin last month he described himself as ‘a player who likes to go one against one’ with opponents and perform at a high tempo.
And the winger’s style of play quickly became apparent during this third-round Carabao Cup tie, with the Sunderland debutant seeing plenty of the ball in the early exchanges.
Dajaku is predominantly right footed but has the ability to deliver on either side, as shown when he cut in from the right and curled a teasing cross into Wigan’s box on 11 minutes.
The winger is clearly someone who can travel with the ball at pace, which should add an extra dimension to Sunderland’s attack, yet there wasn’t much space for him to run into as the visitors saw more of the ball in the first half, keeping Wigan at arms’ length.
After Sunderland took the lead through Nathan Broadhead, there was a moment where Dajaku’s pace on the break should have given his side a two-goal buffer.
The German had switched flanks with Aiden O’Brien and made a probing run behind the Wigan backline to go through one-on-one with goalkeeper Ben Amos.
But after hesitating and getting the ball trapped under his feet, Dajaku was quickly closed down and tried to make amends by squaring it to Prichard who was subsequently thwarted.
Despite the obvious pace and ability, Dajaku looked a little raw at the DW Stadium – which is understandable given he hasn’t played much football this year and is still only 20.
The German’s impact waned a little in the second half yet the positions he took up allowed Niall Huggins to charge forward from right-back – including when the defender crossed for Luke O’Nien’s goal in the second half.
Next time, Dajaku will hope he’s the one providing the assists, or even getting on the end of chances himself.