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Tuesday 13 March 2012

O'Neill praises midfielder Colback

Sunderland boss says 22-year-old can mix it with the best in the Barclays Premier League

Midfielder Jack Colback impressed in Saturday's Barclays Premier League win over Liverpool

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill says midfielder Jack Colback has the talent to match the best in the Barclays Premier League.

The 22-year-old has started 11 of O'Neill's 18 matches in charge of Sunderland.

He impressed in Saturday's 1-0 League win over Liverpool in a Black Cats side without suspended captain Lee Cattermole and O'Neill admitted he was a fan.

"I have belief for him at the moment - he will get it later on"
- Martin O'Neill

"I have more belief in Jack than he has in himself. He is a really fine player," said the Sunderland boss.

"He needs to believe he can mix it in there with the best in the Premier League because he can.

"You don’t get a better midfielder in the Premier League than Steven Gerrard. I know he [Gerrard] was not on for a long period of Saturday’s game (21 minutes), but Jack just gets on with it.

"He needs either belief in himself or someone believing in him and I have it for him at the moment. He will get it later on.

"I thought he was excellent against Liverpool and he is a great lad, too.

"Some players have great self-belief. Maybe he should listen to (Nicklas) Bendtner! Although, on reflection, perhaps not."

Cattermole is suspended for Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final at Everton so Colback is likely to play a part in that match.

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Key Points

  • Jack Colback has been a regular starter under Martin O'Neill at Sunderland
  • Midfielder impressed in Saturday's Barclays Premier League win over Liverpool
  • Boss O'Neill says young star should have more confidence in his ability