Sunderland’s resurgence under Lee Johnson continued on Saturday with a 3-0 victory against Burton Albion.
Veteran midfielder Grant Leadbitter got the solid performance off to a great start early on with an early goal, and Lynden Gooch doubled the lead on 32 minutes.
The Black Cats were given a helping hand in the second half following the sending off of Josh Earl for the home side after he seemed to push Aiden O’Brien over the advertising barriers.
That opened it up for the in-form Charlie Wyke to add a third later on in the half – shockingly not with his head – and it was a goal that made it 11 goals in his last nine league outings.
It was a good performance by all in a Sunderland shirt, but one player is coming in for special praise and that is Luke O’Nien.
Ever since his 2019 arrival from Wycombe Wanderers, O’Nien has been a fan favourite for always giving 100% on the pitch and he very rarely lets Sunderland down.
Quiz: Did these 15 former Sunderland players leave for a higher or lower fee than they arrived for?
Whilst he was signed for his performances in the middle of the park for the Chairboys, O’Nien can also play at right-back and has spent a lot of time this season at wing-back in a three centre-back system deployed by Phil Parkinson.
O’Nien had to wait a little while to get his chance under Johnson due to injury, but he took his chance back in midfield with both hands after scoring in the 2-2 draw with MK Dons a few weeks ago.
The 26-year-old proved his versatility once again though against Burton by playing in a back three alongside Connor McLaughlin and Dion Sanderson – Sunderland fans were impressed though and they were lavishing him with praise post-match on Twitter.
Most versatile player I’ve ever witnessed it’s a blessing to have you in this team luke, you give 1000% in any position !
— Adam Baker (@Adam_baker1490) February 20, 2021
Solid like a 💎 at the back. Still rather have you in centre mid, but can't be helped currently. Need more players that are as versitile. Onwards 💪🏻
— WillJ (@Will_J95) February 20, 2021
You were my MOTM today mate, brilliant 😎
— Gary (@BopperSafc) February 20, 2021
Love this lad me like. What a player 🔴⚪🔴⚪
— dibzismint (@dibzismint) February 21, 2021
Have you signed a new contract yet? We're going places, and I want you with us.
— The Skinster (@ColinSkinner17) February 20, 2021
Fantastic today. Can't wait to see you back in that midfield though 💪
— Golf Globetrotters (@GlobetrotGolf) February 21, 2021
Absolute fantastic performance Luke 👌🔴⚪️
— John Lee Blackett (@BlackettLee) February 20, 2021
Well done Luke, back three immense today. Keep it going Lad 👍🏼🔴⚪️⚪️
— Julie (@juliesund) February 20, 2021
Outstanding again today mate!
— andrewmoore (@andrewsmoore007) February 20, 2021
#SAFC Best player need to tie him down ASAP
— Wayne (@Wayne45412274) February 20, 2021