RR: Many Sunderland fans watched the play-off final with intrigue as one of our own, Elliot Embleton, started for Blackpool. How did he do in the game, in your opinion?
I thought Embleton had a decent game, found decent pockets of space, constantly on the move and gave options when we were potentially struggling for options, something you love to see in a player. He didn’t seem bothered by the occasion. He also assisted Sir Kenny Dougall for the vital equaliser and his neat football work got the ball out of the corner for our second goal also, was impressed and pleased he stood up when counted.
RR: Have you been impressed with him since he joined in the January transfer window?
I would be lying if I didn’t say he’s had some poor games, but to tell you the truth he’s been a decent addition to our side, making a big impact in games this season.
For example, off the bench against Burton at home we became a different side, MK Dons away win he showed relentless energy in a cagey match to help us to a victory, and Oxford away in the league - he was brilliant in one of my favourite wins of the season.
He came alive during the play-offs, which is great, scoring an absolutely worldie to put us back level in the home leg. Critchley likes him as well, which is why it makes sense that we’re potentially making a bid.
Many fans are wondering whether Sunderland should have shown more faith in Embleton and given him a run of games to prove his worth, instead of loaning him out. What do you reckon?
This is an easy one for me, and I don’t agree entirely that you should have shown more faith - it's easy to say when we’ve been promoted, isn’t it? You were in a position to go up automatically without him, and whilst he might have been a differential at the time he wasn’t in your plans.
We’re also a different outfit, play a different way and we used him well, he might have not performed for you. Do I think he potentially should’ve had more game time/maybe not been overlooked as much? Absolutely, but everything is easy in hindsight.
RR: What would you say his best position/role is in the team?
The team and the tactics changed every game and therefore so did Embo when he played, but for me, he worked so well switching between number 10 and the wing.
Even when he played in a 442 he was so clever at drifting into the middle, playing a nice pass or even out of possession chasing the opposition down and putting them under pressure. You saw him drift in perfectly against Oxford, curling in a beauty off of the wing.
RR: Think back to when he first arrived, and then compare it to now - what would you say has been the biggest improvement in Embo’s game you’ve seen?
First and foremost, his confidence has grown massively, he really looks like he’s enjoying his football. I think his positional play has improved massively, he’s started to make pockets of space with decent footwork under pressure. It’s hard to say one thing specifically, however, if I had to pick one thing it would be the ability to create space and create a chance in the opposition half, although when he’s offered a chance, his shot power has been poor in my opinion, he could’ve scored a lot more goals.
RR: Would you like to see him come back to Blackpool next season?
In short, yes, he needs the right players around him to make him come alive, but he’d be welcome back in my eyes. I’d like to see us sign strongly in and around his position, as I’m not sure he’d be an out and out starter in the Championship.
RR: If you had to rate his time at Blackpool out of ten, what would you give him?
A strong 8/10 - he really performed when he needed to, and was a part of one of the most successful runs in the club's history, showed great footwork and the ability to take players out of the game, and make chances for himself and others.
He needs to work on his decision making and some of his passing and his shot power, but overall I’ve grown to really like Embo and he’s made a real difference to our side.
As i’ve said above, it’s easy to say now, but watching you (in games like wigan away) you needed something different - Embleton would have added that, and if he doesn’t sign, he should be very much a part of your plans next season.