Kevin Phillips believes Sunderland should look to retain the services of Duncan Watmore beyond the end of the season, as revealed by Football Insider.
Watmore has suffered an injury-hit career, twice coming back from damaged his anterior cruciate ligaments. Upon his return last season, he got injured again after a challenge from Wycombe’s Marcus Bean.
He finally got back into the first-team picture this season but has been largely ineffective with 22 outings, mostly from the bench. He’s scored twice, once in the Leasing.con Trophy against Grimsby Town and again in the 5-0 demolition of Tranmere,
He’s struggled for form since Phil Parkinson took over as manager, but Phillips believes there is value in keeping him beyond the end of his current deal, which ends in June.
“He has got an injury and he does not look like the same player since coming back,” said Phillips, who is still the only Englishman to win the European Golden Shoe, back in 2000 whilst a Black Cats’ player.
“How many times do you see that with players? He has not played a lot of football so I am not saying he needs to leave the club because Sunderland need to keep him. But if he is not playing week in week out next season….”
“He needs to play regularly to find his form. That will be discussed at the end of the season but if you can get him backfiring it would be like having a new signing again.”
Watmore, a former England Under 21 international, has started 31 times for Sunderland in all three of England’s top divisions, with a further 40 outings from the bench.
I’m not sure about this. I think Duncan Watmore harps back to a time Sunderland are best to forget. He hasn’t looked effective this season and I can’t help but feel the bus has already left in terms of his potential.
There’s a lot of expectation on him having come through as a Premier League player, but a fresh start somewhere might wipe that clean. The injuries appear to have taken a yard of pace and an ounce of belief and with that in mind, both player and club might be best bidding each other farewell.
That’s not to say he’s a bad player, not at all, but his time as a Sunderland force is surely coming to an end.