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Roker Report's Player Of The Month: Connor Wickham

Our player of the month, Connor Wickham.
Our player of the month, Connor Wickham.

It's time to anoint our third player of the month here at Roker Report, a month which runs from the win at Bolton Wanderers to Fulham bore-draw only days ago.

We decide this based on ratings we've dished out in our match reports, then average it out over the amount of games said player has actually played during the month, so it's not like we're just choosing at random here.

So, as the title suggests, this month it's Connor Wickham, so lets see why he got it, with added thought from all of us at Roker Report, and we'll also see how the rest of the squad are doing...

The notion of Wickham receiving the accolade may baffle some given he only played in two and a bit games during the month, but it's testament to his impact in those games that puts him as this months winner.

Surprisingly coming into the team at Bolton for his first start, Wickham didn't disappoint. Edged out in the Bolton game by only Stephane Sessegnon for the actual Man Of The Match, before picking it up himself against Villa, the youngster has had a massive impact.

It's hard to think that a player who was occasionally derided on Messageboards and Twitter as a 'waste of money' whilst still finding is feet is now so badly missed, and is without question one of the first names on the teamsheet when fit. As witnessed against Fulham, we were crying out for a striker to lead the line and provide shape, so for me, his return can't come soon enough.

Connor is a player of immense potential, and his crowning moment of the month came against Aston Villa, in which he also bagged a goal and was generally a nuisance all day for Richard Dunne and James Collins. A superb turn of pace, clinical finishing and more importantly than anything he seems (or at least seemed) to be a great compliment for Nicklas Bendtner.

Here's what the rest of the Roker Reporters had to say:

Michael Graham: Connor Wickham. Mr Monolithic Menace himself. I think it is testament to the impact that he made in the first team that he gets our vote after just two games this month. He provided the side with exactly what they needed at exactly the right time and looked like being the man to kick-start out faltering season. It is 'typical Sunderland' that having made the impact that freak injury then denies us more. It was evident last week against Fulham just how much we missed his constant presence in the box and ability to occupy centre backs. The sooner we get him back, the better.

Dan Williams: Connor, Connor, Connor. Although he didn't play a huge part in terms of the actual number of minutes that he was on the field last month, his introduction into the team actually gave us reason to be optimistic for once this season. What bothers me about the whole situation is that it took Bruce so long to actually give the young man a try, yet he came blistering out of the blocks when we finally did so. Should we thank Bruce for holding him back until he was ready, or was he raring to go all along, and we've been missing out? Anyway, back to Wickham. His strength is there for all to see, his attitude is encouraging and, like any young lad, he plays with no fear. What is perhaps even more encouraging is his Twitter feed, in which a professional footballer doesn't come across as a first-rate bellend. Kudos Mr Wickham. Honorable mention must go to Keiren Westwood this month too. Thrown in after Emily Heskey turned Simon Mignolet into a Picasso painting, the Irishman has shown why he is so highly thought of in the game, and his double save against Manchester United was as good as any that you will see all season.

David Boyle: Young Connor Wickham. One of a few very talented young players we have at our disposal yet one that Stevey seemed at pains to give the push into action. Having believed the hype and been impressed with what
little I had seen of him I was delighted with his signing over the summer and still believe it is a real coup for the club. Having shown in flashes what he is capable of he really announced himself with a superb performance at Bolton a few weeks back and ran Gary Cahill ragged with a brilliant old fashioned centre forward's performance.

However, as is the way with SAFC, he was been struck down with injury just a he was beginning to look at comfortable on the pitch. A huge blow for the lad but thankfully it turned out to be nowhere near as bad as we all first feared. So rest up Connor, hit the weights and we look forward to your return!

Chris Weatherspoon: In what can only be described as a dull month supporting Sunderland, Connor Wickham was one of the few bright spots to emerge. And he only played two and a bit games. That's probably testament to how well he's coped in his step up to top level football. Displaying natural strength and a good first touch, he's caused defenders abundantly more experienced than himself some real problems. His injury is frustrating - as shown on Saturday, it once again leaves Bruce at a bit of a loose end. Credit must go to the defence for tightening up over the past month, but Wickham is a deserved winner this time around.

Honourable mentions also go to Sebastian Larsson and Keiren Westwood who Wickham just edged out, and have enjoyed great months themselves.

Elsewhere, in compiling these ratings, it's clear that the squad is still ever changing. From the month previous we've seen Keiren Westwood, Ryan Noble and David Meyler come in more prominently, whilst Titus Bramble and Craig Gardner have dropped off the map completely with a lack of games.

Anyway, here's how the rest have done...

Player Average Score Games Played
17/10 to 21/11

From Previous Month

Connor Wickham 8.0 2 +2.4
Sebastian Larsson 7.3 3 +0.8
Keiren Westwood 7.3 3 N/A
David Vaughan 7.0 2 +1.0
Kieran Richardson 6.75 4 +1.75
Stephane Sessegnon 6.75 4 +0.5
Jack Colback 6.75 4 +0.15
Michael Turner 6.5 4 +0.5
Wes Brown 6.5 4 -0.5
Nicklas Bendtner 6.5 4 -1.1
Simon Mignolet 6.5 2 +0.25
John O'Shea 6.3 3 +0.8
Phil Bardsley 6.25 4 N/A
Lee Cattermole 6.0 2 +0.5
Ji Dong-Won 6.0 2 -0.25
Ahmed Elmohamady 6.0 2 +0.5
David Meyler 6.0 2 +1.0
Ryan Noble 6.0 1 N/A


And that's the rest. Notable improvements from Larsson and O'Shea, whilst overall nearly everyone has upped themselves slightly, it just needs to continue over the next month of games. Nicklas Bendtner needs to get himself back in the form which won him our second player of the month, whilst you can't help but feel Stephane Sessegnon has more in his bank than scores suggest.

It's clear once again that Lee Cattermole isn't performing as well as a captain and leader should in the middle, with the best partnership on form Vaughan and Colback.

On the positive side to end though since there hasn't been much, it's all round improvement, even if it's not quite as much as we'd like, it's better, so let's hope that the trend continues.

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