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Mackembauer - Credit Where It's Due

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Sometimes, you have to hold up your hands and admit that you're wrong. Jan Kirchhoff is brilliant, and here's why I love him.

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I don't usually do this, ever. I mean, it's a Saturday night, there's Darts on the telly and I've got some cold beers in the fridge. By this point in the day I usually cannot be bothered with blogging - considering I spend most my spare time doing stuff for this website, you'd think I'd have a night off.

That said, I feel compelled to write something about Jan Kirchhoff, and just how brilliant he is. In fact, if you'd told me after the Spurs game I'd be spending my 'night off' waxing lyrical about Kirchhoff, I'd have laughed in your face. That, to me, explains perfectly just how well this lad has managed to change Sunderland supporter's perception of him.

I think, if anything, I owe the lad an apology. I admit - in my head I had written him off after that Spurs match.

We're now in a situation where the fans have zero confidence in him after just thirty minutes of football, and the player has probably had his confidence shattered to pieces after the eyes of the nation watched him make a complete fool of himself on television.

I wrote that in my Quick Kicks after that game. Kirchhoff looked slow and unimpressive, and to be honest if I could have sent him back to Germany then I probably would have.

Thank Christ Sam Allardyce kept faith.

Here's a player who oozes class. His ability on the ball should surprise nobody, mind. If it wasn't for the horrific injuries he suffered whilst a Bayern Munich player, who knows just how well he could have done in Germany.

Luckily for us, he's ours. Our manager was rightly criticised for the way Kirchhoff was thrusted into the spotlight, but by the same token he deserves immense credit for recognising his talent and having the bollocks to play him in midfield against Manchester City. When you look at some of the money Championship clubs throw around, the fee paid to bring Kirchhoff to Sunderland seems like pennies.

Jan is such a classy player. Everything he does will the ball looks effortless and simple. He's consistently good, and I put the upturn in form that we've seen since he moved into our midfield largely down to him.

We've seen just how important he is in the last two fixtures. He was knackered against Palace so was withdrawn, and after he left the field we fell apart - his replacement, Lee Cattermole, struggled massively. Today against Southampton he was withdrawn with the game won - by full time, we had allowed Southampton back into the match as they rescued a point.

The big take for me from both games is that we have to keep him on the pitch, because he's quite frankly the glue that holds us together. Doesn't it seem strange saying that about a player who struggled like he did on his debut?

The difference? He played centre half when he came on against Spurs. Sure, he might not have been fit and was certainly lacking match practice, but to me I've seen more than enough to say he's far too good to be playing at the back. Today he was our best player, again. The way he effortlessly wins the ball, keeps possession and takes pressure off the rest of his team cannot be underestimated.

So, yeah, credit where it's due. Jan is class and we're lucky that he's ours. Our safety this season solely relies upon keeping him fit, for me.

I don't want to look too far ahead, but if we stay up we have to build the team around this fella. He's that good.