Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has recalled striker Connor Wickham ahead of tonight’s match against Liverpool, in the hope that the 20-year-old will be like a new signing with entirely different attributes and level of ability.
“We sent Connor to Leeds in the hope that he would come back a different player,” Poyet said. “Maybe an aggressive box-to-box midfielder, or a speedy full-back who’s deadly at free-kicks.
“It would be good if he was now a experienced winger with an eye for goal, but I’d be equally happy if we got a languid trequartista with excellent hair and a mean streak.
“There’s always the risk that he might now be, say, an injury-prone goalkeeper, or a specialist wing-back. Although even that would be better than the player he was when we sent him away.”
For his part, Wickham is hoping that he will find returning to Sunderland like joining a completely different club.
“It’d be great to go back there and find that the random transfer policy, managerial instability and constant relegation struggles were a thing of the past,” he said. “Maybe the club won’t be in the north-east any more either. Maybe we’ll be playing somewhere sunny like the Algarve.”
Poyet is said to be keeping an open mind over the fact that his player appears to still be called Connor Wickham, and has not changed physically in any discernible way.
“We’ve been here with Connor before,” Poyet told FourFourTwo. “Is he the player we signed for £8m as the new Fernando Torres in 2011, or is he just a new Fernando Torres for 2014?”
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