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Interview: An in-depth, honest assessment of Sunderland’s latest signing Conor McLaughlin

What kind of player is Conor McLaughlin and, more importantly, is he any good? We spoke to Lucas Ball from News At Den to find out all about Sunderland’s latest signing - read what he had to say here!

Sunderland Unveil New Signing Conor McLaughlin Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

RR: Hi Lucas! Thanks for giving us the lowdown on our new full back Conor McLaughlin. First thing is first, what type of right back is he?

LB: He’s more of a defensive full back in truth, but he is solid at what he does and has a good awareness of his limitations I think.

He’s still a player more than capable of going on the overlap, but is probably more effective at coming inside on the underlap to be honest, which means he can get shots away as opposed to crosses.

He’ll be an excellent player at League One level, with the potential to play in a defensive Championship side but not one that looks to play on the front foot.

RR: So, if you had to pick three main strengths, what are they?

LB: As I was saying before, his awareness. He knows his limitations and seems to adapt well for them generally. He’s a decent one on one defender and not bad in the air for a full back, and will generally know when to charge forward or go in for a tackle.

Even though he’s a full back, I have to say his shooting! He likes to cut inside and get shots away, he’s scored one or two for us and can force the ‘keeper into a number of good saves. He built up a good relationship with Jed Wallace on the right and their link up was brilliant at times.

Versatility - has the ability to play in a back four or at centre back in a back three, as he does often for Northern Ireland. He’s a good ball playing centre back in that regard if you set up with a back three.

Northern Ireland v Bosnia-Herzegovina - UEFA Nations League B Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

RR: Sounding good so far - any weaknesses?

LB: He isn’t the fastest player in the world and that may have problems up against wingers with pace.

He’ll struggle to recover against them and they will cause issues, meaning he’ll be requiring support when those players come to town, leaving other areas more exposed.

RR: All in all then, are you disappointed hes moved on?

LB: Not particularly no, ‘cause he isn’t quite good enough to be a regular Championship starter for us and Mahlon Romeo is much better at right-back.

Him leaving also gives us the chance to promote a youth player in James Brown, something which Millwall fans - including myself - are keen to see.

RR: Any stand out moments?

LB: His goal at Loftus Road in September or October 2017 in a 2-2 draw was an unbelievable strike. Incredible stuff.

RR: What type of character are we getting in McLaughlin?

LB: He does seem to be a good figure in the dressing room. I don’t think he’s necessarily a leader in terms of barking orders, shouting at others and constantly organising, but more a player who looks to lead by example in the way he plays.

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