Sign up for the free World Soccer Talk daily email newsletter for news, TV schedules & exclusive content »

SUN, 11:30AM ET
MON, 2:45PM ET

Connor Wickham Leading Sunderland’s Fight to Try to Keep Club in Premier League

8184204762 db79445b7c z Connor Wickham Leading Sunderlands Fight to Try to Keep Club in Premier League

Four years ago, Connor Wickham won the Golden Ball as the best player in the 2010 UEFA U-17 Championship. The striker followed that up with an outstanding year at Ipswich Town, and earned himself a £7.4million transfer to Premier League side Sunderland at the ripe age of 18.

Seemingly, Wickham had the world at his feet and would be the next great English striker. But struggles ensued as they have for so many young prodigies in recent seasons, and the player completely stagnated. After Steve Bruce was sacked and replaced by Martin O’Neill, the player struggled for playing time and was eventually loaned out in early 2013.

The player was loaned out once again this season first by Paulo DiCanio and then by Gus Poyet. But when Jozy Altidore’s continued poor form and Steven Fletcher’s injuries became too much to deal with, Poyet terminated Wickham’s loan with Leeds United and recalled him to the Black Cats squad.

Wickham eventually beat out Altidore for playing time and this week became the only player to score at both the Etihad and Stamford Bridge this season, dramatically impacting the title race. In the process, Sunderland has come back from the dead and could maintain Premier League status. The three goals scored this week were Wickham’s first Premier League goals since October 2011 when Steve Bruce was still the Black Cats manager.

Three seasons and three managers later, Wickham is finally firing on all cylinders. A strong striker with the ability to play as a target man, but the mobility to play on the break, Wickham has long resembled a natural game-changer.

Now that the player is finally making the desired impact, at age 21 he still has a bright future. That future could include an England call-up after the World Cup if his form continues and somehow he helps fire Sunderland to safety.

What a difference one week can make.

This entry was posted in Leagues: EPL, Sunderland. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>