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TRANSFER LATEST: Who is Luke O’Nien, the central midfielder that Sunderland are about to sign?

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Sunderland are close to completing the signing of Wycombe Wanderers midfielder Luke O’Nien - but who is he? We go in-depth and profile the man who has been one of the most sought-after young talents in the Football League this year.

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Who is he and where is he from?

Luke O’Nien was born in Hemel Hempstead on the 21st of November 1994, and has Singaporean heritage coming from his mother’s side of the family.

In fact, O’Nien spoke last year about the possibility of him representing the Singapore national team and he was very open to it, suggesting that “it would be an honour” for him to do so should the opportunity ever arise.

His father, Terry, was a professional golfer and his great-uncle was Singaporean politician Lim Kim San.


What position does he play?

O’Nein is a proper box-to-box player and his energy, effort and determination at both ends of the pitch is what has endeared him so much to the Wycombe supporters over recent years.

He chipped in with eight goals and four assists last season as the Wanderers achieved promotion from League Two after finishing third, establishing himself as one of the most talented central midfielders in the Football League - accolades that have seen him sought after by a whole host of ‘bigger’ clubs right across the summer.

Jack Ross likes his midfielders to be capable of playing with a high-press, and that’s exactly why he’s targeted O’Nien as a key addition to his Sunderland midfield.

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Who has he played for?

O’Nien is still quite young and, as such, his playing career thus far isn’t particularly storied.

He made one solitary appearance for Watford’s first team as a 19-year old before taking in a couple of successful loan spells with non-league Wealdstone United.

Despite this, Watford decided against offering him a new deal and he was released in the summer of 2015 following the Hornets promotion to the Premier League.

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Who else has been after him?

Reputable journalist Peter O’Rourke claimed a few months back that Scunthorpe United, Doncaster Rovers and Oxford United were keen on O’Nien - but it has been fellow League One outfit Luton Town that have been most interested in signing him.

They even had a fee agreed and were due to complete a deal for the player until Sunderland nipped in to offer up a viable alternative - one which we believe O’Nien is very keen on completing.

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Physically & technically, what is he like?

O’Nien isn’t particularly big - at 5”9 he’s about the same height as the other players we have right across the midfield, though despite this his characteristics suit the style of play that Jack Ross is looking to adopt going forward.

He’s ratty and aggressive whilst also having a fine range of passing and a keen eye for goal, and was described by the official Watford website as “hard working” with a “battling, technical influence on the field”.

So, in short, he likes to get stuck in and score a few goals. Not too bad, then.

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Inside his mind - what’s he like?

O’Nien prepares meticulously every single day and, in this interview, he revealed some really interesting details about how he decides to live his life and give himself the best possible chance to succeed in football.

Talking about his daily routine, he said:

I get into Wycombe early and stretch. I then train with the team and when that finishes, I work on components of my game that were perhaps not great from the weekends game. Then I have lunch and play some pool while my food goes down and then a gym session. I then stretch, and head home.

When I get home, I eat well throughout the evening. To be a footballer you have to train to be like Ferrari. You have got to put your body into the best possible condition to perform. You can’t use the wrong fuel in a Ferrari otherwise it won’t go. The same goes to me. I must fuel my body properly.

He also admitted that he keeps a mind diary - as, above all else, his mind is his most powerful tool:

It (the mind diary) also helps me check my training is in alignment to what I want to achieve. You have to remember, the mind controls all your muscles which is why you got to keep learning and expanding the mind. If you forget to exercise your mind, your brain won’t communicate with your muscles properly.

Be sure to read the rest of the article - it’s really interesting and you get a fantastic insight into what O’Nien is really like as a person and a professional.