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Former Sunderland flop Antoine Semenyo at the World Cup

After failing to score in seven appearances for Sunderland on loan, few Mackems would have expected to see Antoine Semenyo playing at the World Cup just two years later.

The young striker joined the Black Cats on loan from Bristol City during the 2019/20 League One season but featured just seven times in the third tier, with those appearances only totalling 184 minutes.

The Ghanaian forward had managed six goals and two assists with Newport County in League Two the season prior, but was clearly deemed not good enough by Phil Parkinson, as he looked to guide the Black Cats back to the Championship.

Should Sunderland have played Semenyo more?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Semenyo was quick to prove Parkinson wrong the following campaign, as he notched five goals and seven assists in all competitions for the Robins, which set him on the way to becoming a key player at Ashton Gate.

The 2021/22 campaign was an extremely impressive one for the 22-year-old forward, as he managed eight goals and 12 assists in just 31 league appearances for Nigel Pearson’s side, which has seen him attract interest from the likes of Crystal Palace recently.

Pearson was full of praise for the electric forward earlier this year, saying:

“He is a real threat with his power and pace – he must be a nightmare to play against! His challenge now is to keep developing and adding elements to his game to make him even more effective.”

Semenyo’s impressive form saw him earn a call-up to Ghana’s national side in January of this year, and he would make his World Cup debut for Otto Addo’s side in their 3-2 defeat against Portugal in Qatar earlier this week.

Considering the Ghana international struggled to earn a spot in a League One side just a couple of years ago, Sunderland fans may well be surprised by Semenyo’s meteoric rise, and will perhaps be wishing that he was given more starting opportunities when they failed to finish inside the playoffs of the Covid-affected 2019/20 campaign.