Sunderland defender Bryan Oviedo says he will have to make the right decision in January over his future to ensure he is at his peak for next year’s World Cup - but insists he’s still happy at the Stadium of Light.
Speaking to Costa Rican newspaper Nacion, the international left back suggests he is content to stay at Sunderland where he features regularly, but that he hopes to play in the Premier League again soon.
Next year will be very special for me and for the national team because we will be at the gates of a World Cup, an opportunity to make history, personally I will strive with the team to achieve that dream.
With the Black Cats dropping to bottom place in the Championship this weekend following defeat in the Tees-Wear derby, the prospect of Oviedo making a swift return to the top tier with Sunderland looks increasingly remote - and the 27-year-old hints he will consider his options ahead of the transfer window opening in the new year:
It’s very complex because I have to make a very good decision, this is not just thinking about my team, since I have been playing and I have rhythm and that will be useful for the World Cup.
Changing teams in January can be difficult because if I change squad and I am not a starter that could affect me in the national team and we all know how important the World Cup can be...I’m fine here in Sunderland.
Oviedo has quite possibly been the Black Cats most consistent performer in an otherwise dire start to life in the Championship. The full-back is part of the joint leakiest defence in the league - alongside struggling Burton - but his quality continues to show.
And the former Everton man reckons football in England’s second-tier is proving just as challenging as that he faced in the top division, albeit presenting a different type of test:
The Championship demands you the most, sometimes I have come to think that it is even more difficult than playing in the Premier League because the players are physically stronger.
I feel that this tournament is a league better than some of the first in Europe. Obviously I would love to return to the Premier League because it gives you more exposure. I hope to be able to return
Yet on the deepening crisis at the Stadium of Light, Oviedo insists there are better times still to come this season:
Now we are trying not to be so low. I personally try to help my colleagues and I want to motivate my colleagues. I feel we need to believe in ourselves. I feel we will be better with a little positive mentality and we can have a good second round. We can get into the Premier League.
In a career blighted by lengthy lay-offs, the Costa Rican defender has now made ten consecutive appearances in the Championship and is one of the few who have looked decent in a struggling side.