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Is Patrick Roberts making a case to start for Sunderland?

Tony Mowbray has spoken very highly of the ex-Manchester City and Celtic attacker, so is it time to utilise him in our starting eleven?

Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Chris Wynn says...

What I don’t really understand about this debate is why haven’t we looked at Roberts, Jack Clarke or Amad playing in the number ten role centrally, now that we’ve got a fit striker?

Alex Pritchard has generally been in good form this season, so for the most part it’s been a no-brainer to keep him in there. However, there’ve been times when his form has dipped and he’s struggled to make an impact in games.

Elliot Embleton was given an opportunity against West Brom and although I think he’s a good footballer, I’m not sure he deserved another go in the starting XI at Hull.

With Pritchard missing out through injury, I saw it as a perfect opportunity to have Clarke, Roberts and Amad as the three behind the striker.

All three are talented enough footballers to drift and switch positions with one another when we’re in possession, and it feels like a missed opportunity to not let them off the leash at the same time.

It’s frustrating that the general debate seems to be around playing Roberts or Amad, but I’d like to see those two together alongside Clarke in the side, but this time with an out-and-out striker in front of them.

Huddersfield Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Kevin Barker says...

Roberts needs to start our next game.

Cast your mind back to the game at Reading, where his performance and the goals he scored were sublime. He’s a confidence player and he needs to be fit and playing weekly in order to show his best form.

With Roberts and Jack Clarke, we’ve got genuine width and attacking threat and can deploy more defensive-minded central midfielders to give them a licence to roam.

It’s been a surprise that he hasn’t started recently, and he seems to have fallen out of favour with Tony Mowbray, but the quality of his through-ball for Ross Stewart’s goal showed why we need him in the side.

With Elliot Embleton’s injury looking like a long-term one, let’s hope Roberts shows what he can do over the festive period, and combined with Stewart’s return we can kick on and win back-to-back games again.

Reading v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Kevin Campbell says…

I don’t understand why Roberts hasn’t been more involved during his time at the club.

He’s been used as a ‘super sub’ more often than not and I think it’s high time he gets a solid run of starts.

I’d love to see him playing in the number ten role or even wide on the right, and the benefit of him starting is that it gives us great flexibility at the top of the pitch.

We could play him in the ten position with Amad and Jack Clarke on either side and Ross Stewart up top, or we can play him wide, opposite Amad or Clarke and have a three-man rotation in those areas.

This might be a good option, seeing as Clarke has played all but one game this season, and we don’t want him burning out towards the end of the campaign. After all, he’s a young lad who still isn’t used to playing this many matches in a season.

Either way, the point for me is that Roberts needs a good eight to ten games as a starter, and I think he’ll shock people with the numbers he produces in front of goal.

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