England U21 striker Connor Wickham is doing all he can to try and break into the Sunderland first team under Martin O’Neill.
A crucial goal in a 1-0 victory for the young Three Lions against Serbia will have done his credentials for a spot in the starting XI no harm.
Despite this, the manager has high standards and Wickham has yet to make a Premier League appearance this season with the striking competition so fierce around him.
Even though many consider Fletcher, Sessegnon and Saha to be above the 19-year-old in the pecking order, he isn’t about to take the easy option of going out on loan.
Instead the former Ipswich star wants to stay on Wearside and fight for his place just like every other member of the squad. It has taken time for the talented youngster time to adapt to his surroundings, with his reported £8million transfer fee weighing on his shoulders.
However, the Sunderland ace believes he now has developed enough to live up to the billing he was given before he arrived at the Black Cats. The player was brought in by former boss Steve Bruce but has been impressed by his current manager, Martin O’ Neill.
The teenage marksman went on to speak to the Northern Echo about the Northern Irishman, “”I’ve spoken to him a few times and he’s told me exactly what he wants and we’ve got the coaches in to do the extra training that has been put on for me.”
Wickham will be hoping that extra training has paid off and that he gets a chance to shine and finally warm himself to the Sunderland fans in the Tyne-Wear Derby this Sunday.