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Sunderland's Attitude Has Improved - And Jones Is At The Forefront

Someone has quietly came back into the fold at Sunderland in recent weeks - it's early days, but the signs are encouraging.

AFC Bournemouth v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

There was a tweet before the Arsenal game that made me laugh. It was something along the lines of 'Moyes brought in two right backs, only to realise Billy Jones was better than both'.

Javi Manquillo and Donald Love were both signed in the summer to effectively replace Jones, yet he's started in each of Sunderland's last three games after neither player were able to cement their places in the side having been given the opportunity to do so.

I felt a little sorry for Jones after our trouncing last week against Arsenal.

Understandably, we were all mad after conceding three goals in six minutes of second half football. Sadly, in the mist of it all, we seemingly forgot about Jones' gutsy, determined attitude he had shown.

His all-round ability is something you can sometimes question, but he managed to win most of his aerial duals in that game, he got forward when he could and managed the right hand side well, remarkable considering how badly let down he was defensively by Wahbi Khazri and latterly Adnan Januzaj. Whilst it wasn't a groundbreaking display, Jones gave a gritty account of himself.

Fast forward a week and, whilst everyone rightly praises the attitude and performance of Victor Anichebe, it's worth noting the workmanlike performance of Jones against Bournemouth at the weekend.

Managing four clearances, four interceptions and two blocks, he also distributed the ball superbly with a 92% passing rate.

We've been here before with Sunderland, and whilst we all want to progress and move on from workmanlike players such as Jones and, in the past, Phil Bardsley, that's where we are at. I think a lot of our problems this year have stemmed from a lack of leadership, a lack of character and, most of all, nobody taking ownership for the performances produced - at the weekend, however, we saw this from the Sunderland players.

The eleven players on the field, and latterly ten after the red card given to Steven Pienaar, took full ownership for their positions and the responsibilities they had and took a hard-fought win, despite all the odds going against them. It was a show of true character.

This sort of attitude from individuals inspires a whole team sometimes. In recent years we've seen the passion of Lee Cattermole, the battle of Sebastian Larsson and the endless energy of Fabio Borini inspire those around them to show more.

Whilst we've yet to see much of this yet from Billy Jones since he arrived at Sunderland, right now he's not hiding - and, right now, that is what we need.