Sunderland interim head coach Mike Dodds heaped praise on Patrick Roberts after the Black Cats picked up a massive three points at home to promotion rivals West Bromwich Albion.
Tony Mowbray was dismissed on Monday night after his side suffered two defeats and one draw across three winnable matches against Plymouth Argyle, Huddersfield Town and Millwall over the past fortnight.
37-year-0ld Dodds was appointed as the caretaker manager for the second time in his career, having taken charge of the team after Lee Johnson was relieved of his duties back in 2022 when the side were in League One.
In his first stint in the dugout, Sunderland suffered two defeats in two matches under his tutelage but have already fared better this time around, beating West Brom 2-1 at the Stadium of Light.
Goals from Daniel Ballard and Dan Neil in the second half were enough to put the Baggies to the sword despite a late strike from Brandon Thomas-Asante bringing the Midlands club back into the match.
Sunderland are now back inside the playoff places after Hull City suffered a 2-0 loss away at an in-form Queens Park Rangers. Nevertheless, speaking after the game, Dodds heaped praise on one man in particular.
The caretaker boss was full of admiration for Patrick Roberts, claiming that the former Manchester City man has the ability to play in the Premier League [quotes via Sunderland AFC News]:
“Look, Pat’s got all the ability to be a Premier League footballer.
“Pat knows what I think of him as an individual and what we’ve got to try and do is just kind of push him a little bit harder and get a little bit more consistency out of him. And I’m sure he will propel us too, to the levels which the football club wants to get to.”
The Englishman was linked with a £12 million move away from the Stadium of Light during the summer but could be a huge player for the club in the second half of the campaign.
Roberts has made 18 appearances this season for Sunderland and has failed to score a single goal, recording merely one assist in the meantime. However, today, the 26-year-old put in a very mature performance in a deeper position, creating three chances, including one big chance, as per FotMob.
It’s good that the ex-Celtic star signed a new contract last month too as he could be very important for the team if they are to make a push for a return to the Premier League without constant speculation about his future at the club.