Sunderland’s midfield has been somewhat topsy-turvy this season, but against Lincoln last weekend we caught a glimpse of the huge potential it possesses.
Max Power played alongside George Dobson in the middle of the park and the pair had two of their most convincing displays of the campaign.
However, what if Sunderland’s midfield could get even better without spending any money?
Signings may be imperative at Sunderland this month given a record of just four wins under Phil Parkinson but a man already among their ranks could hold the key to adding greater depth.
That isn’t Grant Leadbitter or moving Luke O’Nien into a central role. Instead, the man in question is Ethan Robson.
Parkinson confirmed after Sunderland’s 3-1 win over the Imps that he would return from a successful loan spell with Grimsby this week.
A dilemma is on the manager’s hands after his recall. If he plays for the Black Cats then FIFA rulings state that he won’t be able to play for another club if he moves on loan.
Although their regulations claim you can be registered to three teams within a separate season, you cannot play for a trio of clubs in the same period.
But the north-east outfit need to forget about this rule and simply give him a chance in the first-team. Parkinson has stated that other clubs are interested in taking him on a temporary basis again but that shouldn’t even be of consideration.
The 23-year-old is a dynamic player and he’s proved as much this season, showing attributes that can benefit the senior side at the Stadium of Light.
Robson has only featured on one occasion for Sunderland in the past but now is the time to blood him properly.
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The midfielder may have been plying his trade in League 2 in the early exchanges of the campaign but he has more goal involvements, four, than any other out and out midfield man in the Black Cats’ squad.
But the main argument for including him is the fact that he’s better than the central player who appeared from the bench on Saturday.
So far this season, Robson has performed more tackles and key passes per game than the 33-year-old Leadbitter, who has looked distinctly average in 2019/20. Given those facts and his undoubted potential, keeping Robson around the squad would be a wise idea.