Chris Maguire’s Sunderland story has been a tale of both jubilation and regret.
On his day, the Scot has the capability of coming up with some major moments. Take his winner against Portsmouth that took the Mackems to the play-off final, for instance.
However, despite being Sunderland’s top scorer last term, he is a man whose time in the North East has been riddled with inconsistency.
That has never been more apparent than this season, a campaign where not only has he struggled for game time, but he’s also struggled to find the net.
Under Phil Parkinson, the forward was a favourite but he didn’t become one of the former manager’s key men without some rocky moments.
In December 2019, he and Aiden McGeady were pictured at McDonald’s just hours after the club’s 1-0 defeat to Gillingham. Now, you may well conclude that footballers can eat whatever they please, but Parkinson was clearly seething with their conduct.
Parkinson commented: “I got sent the picture. Obviously, it’s not professional, is it? So it’s not helpful, but that is not the sole reason why this decision has been made.”
The decision the former Black Cats boss speaks of was a slap on the wrist behind closed doors. Though, McGeady came out far worse. He was banished from the first-team and told to find a new club in January.
Maguire, on the other hand, only became more crucial to Parkinson. He trained harder and stayed behind beyond normal hours. Following that incident, he went on a run where he scored four goals and registered three assists in his next six outings.
Keep that in mind and it’s remarkable to think that McGeady is now the star of the team again.
Parkinson has departed and with his exit, Lee Johnson has welcomed change. He brought the Irishman in from the cold and coincidentally the man to suffer has been Maguire.
In fact, it wouldn’t be too harsh to suggest the forward has been a passenger of late. In total, the 32-year-old has scored just once in his last 15 games and has started only three matches since Johnson took charge.
Maguire hasn’t been among the starters since the 8th December when Sunderland beat Oldham 2-1. Though, if you consider his dismal stats, it’s hardly a surprise he’s been on the bench on so many occasions.
Very much like his entire Black Cats career to date, this season has been an inconsistent one. The veteran has still netted four times this term but it speaks volumes that McGeady has the same number of strikes, despite not starting a game until December 12th.
Maguire has already managed to overcome some tough times at the Stadium of Light so you wouldn’t put it past him to find consistency again.
However, for that to happen, you feel as though he’ll need to start more regularly.