Kimpioka hopeful of Premier League return for Sunderland
Benji Kimpioka is currently away on international duty with the Sweden under-21 team, and has been interviewed by fotbollskanalen.
During the interview, the 21-year-old spoke positively about the impact of both Lee Johnson and Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, and explained that he hopes to stay at Sunderland as he has goals he wants to achieve with the club:
The new coach has given me a lot of confidence. I like him and the new owner, so I look forward to my time there.
I think I will stay in Sunderland, I feel very comfortable with the coach there. I still have goals that I set for myself and have not yet achieved. I really have to fight for these goals and then feel ready for the next step.
Kimpioka went on to say that the club should not even be in the Championship, but should be in the Premier League:
We have said it for many years and will continue to say it. This is a Premier League club, it’s not even a Championship club, we’ll be at the top. But it’s easier said than done. We have to let our game handle the talk.
He was then asked whether he wants to help return the club back to the top flight before he finishes at the club and was clear with his answer:
Yes, 100 percent.
Although the forward is currently on international duty, they played their last game of this round of fixtures last night - winning 6-0 against Luxemborg, with Kimpioka coming on as a substitute (replacing Tim Prica, the son of former Sunderland striker Rade) - he should return to his loan spell at Torquay United for their play-off fixture at the weekend.
Kimpioka was keen to join Gary Johnson’s side, saying he loves a challenge:
The Sunderland coach’s dad has a team in the National League that pushes for promotion to League Two, so he has wanted to have me down there and help them reach promotion. I felt it was perfect to get another challenge and I love challenges. I had to move down to the English Riviera and fight down there for a few months.
The player suffered a serious hamstring injury in the first half of last season and revealed that the immediate aftermath of the injury was the worst spell of his career so far. He explains how he suffered mentally but is glad he went through it as he believes he came through the experience a stronger person:
Personally, I would probably say that it is among the toughest, if not the toughest, I have gone through in my life. I had just moved in, I lived alone and neither parent could come and help me. You know… the demons in your head, you think, you can not play football in six months, it can not be explained.
I am grateful that I went through it, because it made me much stronger as a human being. You have to go through such things in life if you want to move forward. I’m very religious and I think this is one of God’s plans for me, so I’m not complaining.
Reported target moves elsewhere
Sunderland are currently without a senior left-back with Denver Hume’s contract set to expire at the end of the month - although the club are keen to retain his services - Callum McFadzean being released and Jake Vokins returning to Southampton at the end of his loan deal.
So the arrival of a new left-back or two is likely during the summer transfer window but one player who is certain not to arrive is Scott Tanser.
The 26-year-old has recently been linked with a move to the Stadium of Light but has instead signed a one-year deal with St Mirren following his departure from St Johnstone.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Tanser explained the move by saying he wanted to sign for a manager who wanted to sign him:
When the manager called me he was really positive as to what he wants to achieve at the club, and I was sold with what he had to say. He showed a lot of interest in me and obviously I want to be with a manager who wants to bring me to a club.
Henderson’s father explains Jordan’s bold decision
Jordan Henderson made a surprise debut for Sunderland in 2008 as an 18-year-old, when Roy Keane gave him a chance at half-time during a 5-0 defeat by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The current Liverpool captain would then miss the next few games and despite his age and inexperience, he was brave enough to go to Keane’s office to ask why he was not featuring for the first team, so says his father Brian to liverpoolfc.com:
The next two or three games he was in the squad but he didn’t get picked. Then he got dropped out of the squad one game, maybe four weeks after that debut.
He said to me, ‘I’m going to go and knock on the gaffer’s door.’ I went, ‘Why?’ He went, ‘I want to know why I’m not in the squad.’ I went, ‘Jordan, you’re an apprentice, you’re just a young lad.’ ‘I don’t care, I played against Chelsea.’
And he went and knocked on Roy Keane’s door and asked him why. I think Roy gave him the answer: because you’re learning and I’ll put you in when I think you should be in. He was happy with that.