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Departing Midfielder Gets Excuses At The Ready

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Good news for Seb Larsson... rubbish form definitely isn't Seb Larsson's fault, chirps impartial observer.

Alex Broadway

Seb Larsson has been a victim of his selflessness at Sunderland as he heads towards the exit, his agent has claimed.

The midfielder is out of contract this summer and unlikely to be offered a new one regardless of the success of the club's bid to stay in the Premier League. That has pretty much sent his agent, Per Jonsson, into full on salesman mode.

He told the Sunderland Echo:

The main situation for Seb going forwards is to choose a club - whether that is Sunderland or someone else - that will use him in his natural position.

He has been out of position for the last year and a half.

In the first season, he did very well and had a very good record in terms of goals and assists.

But since Adam Johnson's arrival, he has been moved around. He played in four or five different positions last season and it's difficult for any player when that happens.

Now that his contract is up and he can pick his next club, wherever he goes - or if he stays - he needs to go back to playing as a winger. That's where he has been the most successful.

He never complains or tries to changes what the coach wants to do, but at the end of the day, you perform best where you feel most natural.

He is playing central midfield which is not his position.

You have to obviously concede the point that Larsson wasn't signed as a central midfielder but has predominantly been used there in his Sunderland career. Fair enough. I don't think he has been unfairly used there though or it has been sufficiently disruptive to excuse his general contribution for two years.

It doesn't explain the quite extraordinary decline in his set-piece quality, for example. Or his 'point first play later' general on-pitch demeanour. It doesn't stretch to that point. It's also completely at odds with what Larsson himself said shortly after switching to the centre:

I've really enjoyed it there.

It just takes a bit of getting used to. I played there a lot when I was younger.

But it's a position that I will hopefully play a lot more.

It just looks like a clear case to me of a player's agent trying to distance him from failure as he is about to hit the free market. I suppose that is reasonable. In fact it's why you'd have an agent in the first place.

But as a fan, and one who believes a major problem with the core of the current squad is an excuse culture, it doesn't really make for stirring reading in the midst of a relegation fight.