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Wickham vowing to fight for a spot
HE might be finding it hard to break into Sunderland’s firstteam, but Connor Wickham insists he is doing all he can to match manager Martin O’Neill’s high standards.
Wickham is yet to make a Premier League appearance this season, up against Steven Fletcher, Stephane Sessegnon, Louis Saha, Fraizer Campbell and Ji Dong-Won for a starting place.
While it would have been the easy option to go on loan, Wickham would rather stay on Wearside and fight for his place.
The teenage striker has spoke to the Black Cats boss about his position on several occasions and understands exactly what O’Neill demands.
“When he first came in we got off to a flying start, we really took off,” Wickham said.
“I’ve spoken to him a few times and he’s told me exactly what he wants and we’ve got the coaches in to do the extra training that has been put on for me.
“I’m doing it every single day and hopefully it will show the manager that I want to play.
“He’s different to Steve (Bruce). He’s very motivational.
All the boys know what’s expected of them.
“He has high standards and hopefully all the boys should know what those standards are.
“I know what he wants from me personally so that’s what I’m trying to work on to get in the team.”
Wickham is unlikely to be involved in this weekend’s derby with Newcastle, but the Black Cats will hope summer signings Fletcher and Adam Johnson can continue their impressive starts.
Although Wickham hasn’t had the opportunity to play alongside Johnson yet, the 19- year-old believes the former Manchester City winger will be a huge asset.
He said: “Everyone knows what he’s about, he loves to beat players and get into the box.
“He will bring some real quality to the team and I think everyone has already seen that in training.
“When he’s fully fit he will be a massive player for us. For any player to have played for Man City shows that they are very good.
“To have him come here and join us shows that if we can gel properly we will have a very good side.”
Wickham is on international duty with England’s Under- 21s for their Euro 2013 qualifying double-header against Serbia with the second leg taking place tonight after Friday’s 1-0 first leg win.