'What a place to do it': Carl Winchester delivers this brilliant verdict on his Sunderland form and best position

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The end result for Sunderland on Saturday was frustration but in midfield there was again, a major positive.

Labelled as 'outstanding' by his head coach, Carl Winchester delivered a performance of purpose and tenacity.

Having excelled through the first part of the season in a right-back role, injuries have given the 28-year-old the chance to move back into the middle of the pitch and it's a role he has relished.

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Not that the Northern Irishman is overly concerned about where it is that he's playing.

Sunderland midfielder Carl WinchesterSunderland midfielder Carl Winchester
Sunderland midfielder Carl Winchester

Quite the opposite, in fact.

One of the reasons he has become so popular with the Sunderland fanbase is that his performances comprehensively back up his words: for this club, he'll play anywhere.

"Look, I've always said I'm just happy to be out there helping the team, whatever position," Winchester said.

"We've had a lot of injuries recently so I'll just play anywhere to be honest, and I'll do my job for the team.

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"The clubs I've come from, absolutely no disrespect to them but Sunderland is just a completely different level. I'm just buzzing to be here and so I'm just working as hard as I possibly can to prove that I deserve to be here."

Having shown his best form in flashes through the first six months of his time on Wearside, Winchester said the off-season was key to his surge in consistency.

The midfielder feels he is not just settled at the club, but thriving on the size of it.

"To be fair, the first couple of months I was here wasn't good enough," he said.

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"I was just buzzing to be here, but to be honest I don't think I took it all in.

"I went home in the off season and just said, right, get your head down, have a right go at this season.

"That's what I think I've done.

"I knew coming here there was going to be pressure, and I think I'm experienced enough [to handle it now].

"The first couple of months I probably felt it, but you get used to it and learn how to deal with it all.

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"I was hard on myself at times last season but I cope with it much better now and I just go out there and give it my all."

Though frustrated that his side could not capitalise on a good second-half display, Winchester says the visit of Morecambe on Tuesday night is a chance t quickly build some momentum.

"You could say that a point was fair because of the first half, but I think the second half we had them pinned in their own half so we're really disappointed not to come away with three points," Winchester said of the Oxford draw.

"Injuries have killed us the last couple of weeks but I believe once we've got everyone back, and even now to be honest, we've got the squad to compete.

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"We're 100% happy to have another game and a quick turnaround, especially at home.

"We can make this place a fortress and our home form this season has been good."

It's certain now Winchester will be at the heart of that.

As he puts it: "This is my time now to show to everyone what I can do, and what a place to do it."

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