Sunderland’s Will Grigg has not had the best 18 months on Wearside. Signed from Wigan Athletic for an initial fee of £3 million, the Northern Ireland international has struggled to replicate the form that persuaded the Black Cats to part with a large amount of money by League One standards.
However, Grigg has had an impressive pre-season with the striker scoring twice and looking, according to manager Phil Parkinson, “fitter than he has for a long time”. Should Sunderland get Will Grigg back into the form he has shown in the past, he could easily go from zero to hero on Wearside. Fans are hoping that Will Grigg will once again be on fire in League One this coming season.
Sunderland’s Will Grigg Can Rediscover his Form
18 Months of Struggle For Sunderland’s Will Grigg
It’s safe to say that Sunderland’s Will Grigg has not had the impact at the club that was expected. Signed to replace the departing Josh Maja who was top scorer at the time, there was an air of optimism that Grigg was the perfect signing for the club. His past record has been excellent; however, goals and form have been extremely hard to come by for the international striker.
A new league season is on the horizon and this is Grigg’s chance to show that he still possesses the goalscoring ability that convinced Sunderland to part ways with the aforementioned sum of money.
Sunderland Must Play to Will Grigg’s Strengths
During Grigg’s 18 months on Wearside, it could be argued that Sunderland have never played to his strengths. Grigg is not a target man or someone who will go past several defenders before scoring. He prefers to play on the shoulder of the defender, looking for through balls on the ground from his teammates.
If Phil Parkinson, who is known to prefer a target man as his main forward, can find a way to get Grigg on fire, then the goals could flow.
Proven at League One Level
Grigg has a previous reputation of a goalscoring machine in League One. His two seasons in the division prior to joining Sunderland resulted in promotion. During these two seasons, Grigg scored 44 goals as he fired Wigan Athletic to the Championship.
The Northern Ireland international has the knowhow of League One to do the same for Sunderland. However, he must move on from being an expensive failure, after scoring just five league goals in 38 games, to the player who was on fire in previous campaigns.
Power Has Confidence in Grigg
New Sunderland team captain Max Power is convinced that Grigg, his current teammate and former teammate at Wigan, can get the goals to fire Sunderland to promotion. Power was part of the Wigan team that included Grigg when they won promotion twice from League One. Grigg was one of the main reasons behind their success and Power is convinced that the striker can rediscover his best form:
“Anyone who understands the game can see his movement, he is very clever, he is on the shoulder of the defender and always looking to make runs in behind. We’ve probably been guilty of not creating enough of those opportunities for him.
“If you look at the pass Dan Neil played for him on Saturday – and there was one just before that which ran through to the keeper – it was perfect for Will.
“Will is the best first-time finisher that I have played with in my career, and I have seen him score many of those. If you can get him in those positions, more often than not he will score.” That’s something we need to improve on, and if we can do that then he will score 20 goals.”
Phil Parkinson Urges Grigg Not to Let Penalty Miss Knock his Confidence
Last Saturday, Sunderland were knocked out of the Carabao Cup on penalties at home to Hull City. Grigg had two goals disallowed but missed the only penalty of the shoot-out. Black Cats boss Phil Parkinson has urged the forward not to let the penalty miss have a negative impact on him going forward:
“He’s as fit as he’s been for a long time. He’s getting into those dangerous areas, and he’ll feel aggrieved he hasn’t got a goal today and obviously the penalty will hurt him because as a striker, he prides himself in those pressure situations.
“It was a disappointing penalty, I don’t think anyone can argue with that, but there’s always got to be a fall guy in that situation. Unfortunately it’s Will but I don’t want that to knock him because he’s in a better place than at anytime since he’s been at the club. I feel for him but for me, he had to put his hand up and take one.”
Four Strikers, One Place Available
Earlier this week, Sunderland added veteran striker Danny Graham to their squad. At present, Phil Parkinson has four first-team strikers to choose from for the one place in the starting 11. Grigg will battle it out with Graham, Charlie Wyke and Aiden O’Brien for the striking position. Should Grigg or any other forward not perform, there will be another waiting for their chance
Legend Kevin Phillips Not Convinced About Sunderland’s Will Grigg
Black Cats goalscoring legend Kevin Phillips is not convinced that Sunderland’s Will Grigg is the man to fire Sunderland to the Championship or be able to rediscover his form from seasons gone by. Speaking to Football Insider, Phillips said:
“From the evidence of last season I do not think he can score 20 goals, I am not going to beat around the bush.
“There was not one thing that I saw him do well. No real work rate and at times it was like he was hiding. But when they start back there will be no crowd there and that might help him because it looked to me as if the crowd really effected him.
“I would like to think he can score 20 because you do not become a bad player overnight. Max Power is right, strikers are only as good as the service. I hope he proves me wrong but I do not see him scoring 20 goals this season.”
It will certainly be interesting to see whether the Sunderland forward can rediscover his golden touch to fire Sunderland towards promotion this season.
Embed from Getty Images