Aiden O’Brien has put Sunderland’s impressive start to the season down to an effective balance of youth and experience in the squad.
The 27-year-old explained why he thinks they have started so well and the positive atmosphere in the dressing room when he spoke to ChronicleLive this morning.
He said: “I think that is why we are doing so well because we are not really divided, we are a quite tight-knit group and no matter the age we are all trying to stick together on the pitch and get everyone over the line together.
“It’s just a great balance. I’m definitely one of the senior lads and I feel like the younger lads can talk to me.
“I look at everyone the same and respect everyone the same.” he added.
O’Brien has been a bit part player predominantly for the Black Cats this term but it is clear to see how motivated and invested in the club’s promotion push he is.
This speaks volumes about Lee Johnson’s man management skills and how he is keeping the fringe players onside as they all pull in the same direction.
20 quiz questions about Sunderland’s 2021/22 season so far – Can you score full marks?
Sunderland host John Coleman’s tricky Accrington Stanley this Saturday, hoping to extend their lead at the summit of League One and in turn knock Stanley out of the automatic promotion places.
There is a real good feeling around the Stadium of Light at the moment and O’Brien is riding that wave of optimism.
After an up and down summer transfer window, with Charlie Wyke’s move to Wigan Athletic probably the headline on Wearside, Johnson’s men have done incredibly well to put supporters’ minds at rest and pick up four wins from the opening five.
Ross Stewart and Elliot Embleton have been devastating in offense so far this term, although O’Brien will certainly have a significant role to play if their form drops off.
The Irishman has won promotion from the third tier before in his time with Millwall and that know-how could be crucial further down the line.