Phil Parkinson must be livid with Lynden Gooch after the Sunderland winger’s lacklustre performance away to Doncaster Rovers in Saturday’s League One draw.
Gooch was key to the result by assisting Grant Leadbitter’s 43rd-minute screamer to open the scoring and could count himself unlucky to have not won a penalty, but often appeared off the pace and struggling to leave a positive impact on proceedings.
Parkinson has already urged Gooch to reach another level with his performances this year, as the Black Cats boss firmly believes there is more to come from the 24-year-old he has now started in 10 of the Stadium of Light natives’ 12 league fixtures this season.
“Gooch has produced a moment of real quality and he is a very good player and he has to keep taking his game to another level because he has the ability,” he said, via quotes by Bailiwick Express, following the winger’s match-winning goal at MK Dons in January.
Gooch responded to Parkinson’s plea by netting just three more of his 10 goals for the League One season and failing to record an assist before the season was called short in March.
He has since improved his creativity this term with Saturday’s assist his fifth of the campaign, while notching his second goal in October’s 2-0 win at Gillingham after opening his account from the bench at Oxford United to settle September’s encounter.
But Parkinson still needs to see more from Gooch, as his assist glossed over a lacklustre display this weekend and led to unwarranted praise with the Chronicle lauding the four-time United States international as Sunderland’s star man at Doncaster.
Gooch was far from Sunderland’s star man at The Keepmoat Stadium, though, as he lost six of his eight attempted ground duels, never contended for possession in the air, turned the ball over 15 times, offered no successful tackles, interceptions or clearances and misplaced 26% of his 31 attempted passes, per SofaScore.
He further failed to beat his marker with his only attempted dribble of the game, directed just one of four shots on target and took fewer touches (46) than all Sunderland players who started bar goalkeeper Remi Matthews (39), striker Charlie Wyke (26) and wing-back Denver Hume (45).
The only redeeming trait of Gooch’s display was through his assist from two key balls, which betters his per-game average of 0.9, but failing to better his record for successful dribbles (1.3) or duels won (32%) in League One this term.