ALFRED N’Diaye’s promise of goals from midfield might have excited one or two Sunderland supporters, but Martin O’Neill expects no less.
The 22-year-old midfielder told Monday’s Journal he hopes to contribute regular goals to the Sunderland cause.
He has hinted at them already in a Black Cats career so far restricted to 96 minutes on the field, going close to scoring in each of his two games.
Having played there himself, Black Cats boss O’Neill expects goals from his midfield men.
“He said: I’m hoping most midfielders will be able to, during the course of time, be able to score goals, whether you are a defensive midfield player or not.
“N’Diaye has the energy to get into the penalty area.”
O’Neill scored 76 times in a 495-game club career which peaked as a double European Cup-winner with Nottingham Forest.
Goals from midfield have been at a premium for Sunderland this season.
Winger Adam Johnson has four in this season’s Premier League, James McClean two and Sebastian Larsson one, but Lee Cattermole, Jack Colback and David Vaughan are yet to break their ducks.
Two of Craig Gardner’s three goals have come from midfield.
With Cattermole still troubled by a knee problem, N’Diaye is likely to continue as Sunderland’s holding midfielder at home to Swansea City in the Premier League tonight – not that it stopped him crossing from the left wing and almost heading a goal himself at Wigan Athletic.
With his all-action playing style, N’Diaye already seems to have won cult status on the Stadium of Light terraces.
His new team-mates have been equally complimentary.
O’Neill added: “The players have been pretty impressed with him in training, his attitude has been really good and he has a good determination.
“He really wants to do well, he wants to improve and this is a good move for him.
“Sometimes it will take a little bit of time to settle in. He is enthusiastic about it and he wants to really crack on.
“For him to play as well as he did on his debut is very pleasing.”