Sunderland picked up their fifth win in six games by beating Rochdale 2-0 yesterday and many supporters have heaped praise on the performance of Luke O’Nien.
First-half goals from Dion Sanderson and Charlie Wyke were enough to claim all three points for Lee Johnson’s side in a result that has them within five points of the top two.
It was also the Black Cats’ fourth clean sheet in their last five games, a feat made all the more impressive given it was something of a makeshift back four.
O’Nien is a midfielder by trade but has been brilliant in central defence over the past few weeks and yesterday’s game was no different.
The 26-year-old won seven of his 10 defensive duels, made two interceptions, three tackles, four clearances, and blocked two shots (Sofascore).
He was also involved with the ball at his feet, having 93 touches and connecting with 91% of his 72 passes (Sofascore).
Was it Aiden McGeady or Charlie Wyke who have done these 15 things?
O’Nien’s display seems to have caught the attention of Sunderland fans, with many taking to Twitter after the game to heap praise on the 2018 arrival.
Read their reaction here:
I’d go as far as saying that Sanderson and O’Nien have looked like our most solid centre back pairing of the season. #SAFC
— @SunderrlandAFC (@SAFCFANSVIEW) March 6, 2021
Luke O’Nien > Franz Beckenbauer #SAFC
— neilricho (@neilricho1) March 6, 2021
Sanderson getting better & better by the week and O’Nien has been excellent alongside him. Nonetheless, we can’t afford to get any more injuries, hopefully get some players back now ahead of the run in 🔴⚪️ #safc
— PeterJWhalen (@PeterJWhalen7) March 6, 2021
What a block from O’Nien. Top quality defending, that. #SAFC 🔴⚪️
— Philip West (@Philip_RJ89) March 6, 2021
He’s so dependable.
— David Watson (@davidwatson14) March 6, 2021
He’s excellent m8. Whatever position you put him in, he looks like he’s been playing there for years. He’s always eager to improve and learn. We really need to tie him down to a new contract if we can. Can’t speak highly enough of the lad.
— Kevin Moeliker (@Kevsol) March 6, 2021
— Josh Gibson (@JoshGib76204214) March 6, 2021