Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Onuoha: I've Improved

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Onuoha: I've Improved

Article excerpt

NEDUM Onuoha says a year on loan at Sunderland has taught him the art of playing the underdog, writes STUART RAYNER. The 24-year-old defender has just completed a season-long loan at the Stadium of Light from Manchester City. He does not know if he will be back, although the indications are that City will have to significantly lower their asking price for that to happen. If his Black Cats career is indeed over, Onuoha can at least be satisfied he is a much improved player for it.

"I have learned my trade a lot more this year," he said. "I have played more games in the first team and there has been a lot of determination needed. At certain games at City you were expected to win games, sometimes here you have to play the underdog. There is a way you have to play that. "I have improved as a player and the players around me have improved as well. You would like to think Sunderland as a club and the team as a whole have appreciated that." Onuoha's versatility has been tested this season, often playing full-back one game, centre-back the next, and occasionally as an emergency striker at the desperation stages of matches. Having been moved from pillar to post at Eastlands, it is not something which worries the Nigerian-born defender .

"I have enjoyed switching positions," he said. "It means different things in different games. It is almost a compliment from the manager that he thinks he can play me in all of these positions. I have enjoyed it at right-back or as the last line of defence." But Onuoha conceded he was frustrated by a campaign which tailed off dramatically after January's sale of Darren Bent to Aston Villa. The main objective of finishing in the top half was achieved, but Sunderland's pre-Christmas form raised expectations which could not be met. "From my point of view, this season has been a disappointment," he said. …

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