Wickham needs to find ‘last touch’, says Sunderland boss Poyet

Connor Wickham
Connor Wickham
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CONNOR Wickham is just missing the “last touch” to complement his all-round game, says Gus Poyet.

Wickham returned to the Sunderland starting XI against Swansea - after missing last week’s Capital One Cup tie with a back problem - and the England Under-21 striker led the line effectively in the goalless draw.

But Wickham, who is yet to find the net in the Premier League this season, spurned a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock when he sent his header over the top from eight yards.

That proved to be costly after a fifth draw in six top flight outings, left Sunderland continuing their search for a first league win of the campaign.

When asked if he was concerned about Wickham, Poyet said: “Me? No. Of course, if somebody else gets a chance and they score a couple, we will need to see how we play.

“But his overall game was great. He held the ball well, he passed it well, he ran with the ball, he created chances for himself, he was in the box more than ever – it’s that last touch.

“I think I even moved my head for the header, I tried to head it with him.”

Poyet used wingers Adam Johnson and Will Buckley either side of Wickham, and the head coach believes Sunderland’s strategy was the most effective it has been this season.

“For the first time in a few games, we trained for something and it really worked on the pitch, which is going to give the players the confidence to believe in what we do,” he added.

“We tried, we put the ball into the box more than ever, we had crosses and I don’t know how many corners and free-kicks, so we are trying.

“This is us at the moment. We need to go to the next level, and that level is scoring and winning games.”