It is fair to say that Will Grigg has not enjoyed the best of times at Sunderland Arriving in January, he had fans believing that he would fire the Black Cats to promotion.
Niggling injuries, loss of form and confidence made his switch to Sunderland a difficult one. This season has also proved to be frustrating; however, since Jack Ross left the club, he has started two out of the three games since and scored twice. His performance against Tranmere Rovers earned him a standing ovation. Now is the time to give the striker another run in the first team.
Time to Give Will Grigg Another Run in the First Team
Will Grigg is an Experienced League One Striker
When Sunderland signed Grigg in January, they knew what they were signing. The Northern Ireland international is an experienced and prolific striker at League One level.
Before joining Sunderland, Grigg had scored 95 League One goals. Since his arrival, just five league goals have come his way. Should Grigg regain his scoring touch, then the Black Cats have a player capable of firing them to promotion.
Two Starts, Two Goals
Although Grigg’s struggles have continued this season, since Jack Ross departed as manager the striker appears to have found some form.
Grigg started in the EFL Trophy, scoring the winner. As a substitute in Phil Parkinson’s first game in charge, he was unable to stop Sunderland from being defeated. However, due to an injury to fellow forward Charlie Wyke, Grigg started against Tranmere Rovers. It is a game that could mark the beginning of him showing what he is capable of.
Sunderland won 5-0 with Grigg scoring and giving his best performance in a red and white shirt. His performance earned him a standing ovation and a rendition of the ‘Will Grigg’s on fire” terrace song.
Needed a League Goal
Forwards live for goals. Grigg is no different. With goals proving hard to come by, five goals in 22 games last season and two cup goals this season, the striker needed a league goal. Although his goal against Tranmere was a tap in, it was a goal that could prove to be a turning point in his Sunderland career. It was also his first league goal in six months. A large weight has now been lifted from the striker’s shoulders.
The standing ovation Grigg received, the goal scored and his performance against Tranmere will fill the 28-year-old with confidence. It’s this confidence that could bring goals. To take him out of the team would do him and possibly the team no favours.
It is unlikely he will be dropped. Phil Parkinson is likely to keep a confident striker in his side. Speaking after the Tranmere game, Parkinson said: “His all-round performance deserved a goal this evening and when he came off tonight and got the ovation he did, he must be feeling ten feet tall tonight.”
International Recall Awaits
With Grigg off form, his international career has also come to a halt. He has been left out of Michael O’Neill’s squad of late. It may take some time; however, should Grigg regain form, he could be a key player for the Irish in the future.
“I’m a striker and want to score goals. Playing for your country is what you want to do and if I get a chance I feel I can score goals.”
New Manager Could be Key to Future of Will Grigg
New Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson, could be key to Grigg going forward. Under Jack Ross, Grigg struggled. A new manager, with new ideas and a new approach could be exactly what the forward requires.
Parkinson believes he and the rest of the team can get Grigg firing. “Will has probably felt that weight of expectation, but I probably look at it slightly differently – I think we have to create opportunities for him. When he first came in, he had opportunities but when I have looked at recent games, he has not had so many.
“We need to put the ball in the right areas, we know the kind of runs he makes and where his goals come from.”
With everyone desperate for Grigg to succeed, it is now up to the striker to take this opportunity.