Wise Men Say: Will Grigg must take the chance to cement his Sunderland legacy

Following Sunderland’s comprehensive win over Tranmere Rovers, Wise Men Say writer, Joe Owens takes a look at how Will Grigg has the chance to become a Stadium of Light great.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 6:00 pm
Sunderland striker Will Grigg impressed in the victory over Tranmere Rovers.
Sunderland striker Will Grigg impressed in the victory over Tranmere Rovers.

It wouldn’t be Wise Men Say without the obligatory mention of Will Grigg.

On Tuesday night he looked as sharp as he has done in a Sunderland shirt.

Admittedly, that isn’t as bold a statement as we’d have expected, or indeed hoped for when he made the switch from Wigan Athletic 10 months ago. But nonetheless, credit where credit’s due.

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The 28-year-old’s overall showing deserved a goal, which he eventually grabbed with seven minutes to go.

It rounded off an impressive showing from the Northern Ireland international, one which also included a beautifully-weighted assist, allowing Duncan Watmore to slot home.

When Grigg was replaced with a few minutes to go, his exit was met with thunderous applause.

Fans have criticised his displays since he joined the club, and rightly so for the most part. But throughout, every single one of them has willed him to succeed; to be the player we know he can be.

Stephen Goldsmith alluded to it on the Wise Men Say reaction show following Tuesday’s win. It’s been said countless times: “All he needs is one to go in off his bum and he’ll kick on.”

The striker even said similar himself.

But despite levelling things up at Burnley in the Carabao Cup, and firing home during the Checkatrade Trophy semi-final at Bristol Rovers to set Sunderland on their way to Wembley last season, as well as others, there hasn’t been a spark.

He still struggled to get into games, didn’t find form, and eventually, found himself back on the bench.

However, Grigg now faces a new opportunity. Instead of Marc McNulty, Phil Parkinson chose the 28-year-old to lead the line against Tranmere in Charlie Wyke’s absence.

And with Wyke sidelined for over a month, the spontaneously combustible frontman now has the chance to play one of the most important roles in Sunderland’s history.

Whether he takes that chance, however, is another matter. Here’s hoping he does.