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Exclusive: Kevin Phillips likens Sunderland star Luke O’Nien to James Milner

In an exclusive with Football FanCast, Kevin Phillips, who made 513 career appearances, believes Sunderland star Luke O’Nien is similar to James Milner and will be a dream for Lee Johnson to have in his squad.

O’Nien has featured predominantly at centre back since Bailey Wright’s injury, and Phillips believes having a player that can fill in at a number of different positions is a manager’s dream.

Is O'Nien Sunderland's most important player?

Yes, he's very important!

Yes, he's very important!

No, he's replaceable!

No, he's replaceable!

The 26-year old has played centre back, right back, right wing-back, right midfield and centre midfield for Sunderland this season, highlighting his versatility which has been a big advantage for the Black Cats when they’ve suffered injuries in key areas.

Speaking on what O’Nien is like as a player and person, Phillips also told FFC exclusively about how the natural wing-back has adapted his game this season:

“He’s one of those players, a bit like James Milner that can just play anywhere.

Yeah, he’s a good honest lad and pro from what I hear, and he’s a lovely kid who takes on board whatever the manager is saying.

“With the players that Sunderland have missed through injury, like the influential Bailey Wright, of course, he’s had to step up and do a job, and he’s done it while adapting very well at the same time.

I think he’s a huge player for them. He’s every manager’s dream to have one of those players that you can just rely on to play anywhere.”

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Who is the player?

O’Nien was out of the squad in December and January which saw Sunderland win just two out of seven games in the league, such as the 26-year olds influence on the team.

Playing alongside Dion Sanderson, who has also impressed this season, will have helped O’Nien adapt to his new surroundings at centre back.

Article title: Exclusive: Kevin Phillips likens Sunderland star Luke O’Nien to James Milner

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