In an interview with Costs Rican news outlet La Nación, Bryan Oviedo has spoken candidly about Sunderland’s relegation to League One and where he sees his future going from here.
In the piece - which was published yesterday - Oviedo talks about how his future is ‘in the hands of God’, but also admits that his own characteristics aren’t perhaps suited to League One and that he doesn’t particularly want to play at that level.
The former Everton wing-back has played 35 games for Sunderland this season across all competitions and, despite our defensive shortcomings, hasn’t been entirely terrible.
By his own admission, though, the direct nature of the Football League hasn’t really helped his game - but getting vital minutes on the pitch ahead of this summer’s World Cup has.
Speaking about his future at the club and whether he’ll leave, he said:
I can not say because I have nothing concrete and I have to wait.
I have to talk to my representative and talk to the club (Sunderland) to see what the plan is because I have two years left on my contract here.
I think Sunderland is a great club and I know they will want to return to the Premier League soon. Then, I will also wait to see what they tell me.
Obviously the last two years have been very difficult, I hope in God to be able to demonstrate and enjoy football more after the World Cup.
I look forward to knowing what will happen.
After the World Cup we will see, for the moment I am calm and I am fine.
When he signed for the club in January 2017 he could never have expected that the club would have dropped as far as we have, and though he’s not been a standout performer this season it’s unlikely that deep down he sees his future playing third tier football.
When asked about whether he sees himself playing in League One, he said honestly:
The truth is I do not know, for me it is a very difficult league because the game that is played is very direct, there they bet a lot for the pitch.
It is a very strong league - and I know that for my conditions it is not the most suitable.
I would not like to play in that league, I would wait for some options and now I leave everything in the hands of God, and I know that what comes will be the best.
Oviedo was also asked about relegation and whether he thinks he’s had a good season, to which he replied:
The truth was difficult. The days ago when we were relegated ... it is very difficult to go down twice in a row. Then, I personally feel that I did a good job. I’m happy and I was able to help, I think I had a good season.
The 28-year old also admitted that the decision made by former Sunderland owner Ellis Short not to invest in the playing squad contributed to our second successive relegation, and noted that the young loan players that came in due to his frugal ways just weren’t experienced enough to deal with the situation:
Sunderland have been fighting relegation for many years in a row - they did what they could to stay in the Premier League, and could not.
This year was more difficult because they did not want to sign new players to help us.
Most of the players who came were loans, and that complicated everything.
It is difficult because they are very young and this league needs experience.
But it hasn’t all been doom and gloom for Oviedo, who feels that there are positives to draw from this season - particularly ahead of the World Cup:
Having minutes (on the pitch) has helped me a lot. Last season I had a lot of experience and rhythm, that made me feel very good.
I am in the best shape of my sports career. This gives me confidence in the face of the national team, I want to show the good thing I did here that maybe was not seen becaue of the relegation.
I have confidence, I feel better. This year was good and I thank God that it was now very close to the World Cup.
The ex-Copenhagen man also admitted that he was rested in the last two games ‘to help him recover’ ahead of the tournament as we had nothing left to play for, but noted that he hopes to play against Wolverhampton Wanderers in our final game of the season this coming Sunday afternoon.
The full interview with La Nación, in which Oviedo talks more about his injury treatment and the World Cup, can be found here.