Matthew Crichton: Following his first loan spell with Harrogate, Jack Diamond spent a year as part of Sunderland’s first team. What is the biggest difference you have seen in him this time around?
Katherine Swinn: He looked like he had bulked up a bit physically, and he generally looked like a more confident player.
MC: Having only scored twice for Sunderland in forty three matches, the 22-year-old found the net fourteen times last season. Has he developed a greater level of composure in front of goal?
KS: Yes, I think he has. He sees plenty of the ball and I think we’re over-reliant on him at times, but his finishing has generally been clinical.
There’s still room for improvement, however, and he could’ve scored a few more. He’s able to score goals comfortably because he’s playing at the right level. He gets the chances and the defenders aren’t as good, whereas I don’t think he’s good enough for Sunderland and the level that they are playing at to score goals on such a regular basis.
MC: In terms of those goals, are they mainly as a result of him running in behind, or beating defenders in one-vs-one situations?
KS: They’ve been a mixture. However, he’s also scored some goals after making runs into the penalty box, such as the winning goal against Portsmouth in the FA Cup.
MC: The biggest criticism of Diamond has always been the inconsistency of his end product, particularly with crosses. Would you say that his ability to create chances has improved?
KS: He definitely creates a lot of chances but his decision-making lets him down at times and frustrates the fans.
I think he could create and score more if his decision-making was better.
MC: The academy graduate has played in various positions for Harrogate this season. Which one would you say is his best, and why?
KS: Left wing is his best role. He looks a natural there, receives plenty of the ball, is able to use his pace and skill to beat defenders down the line and he also has the freedom to cut inside too, along with making runs into the box.
MC: If he was to be loaned out again, which league do you think would be the right level for him?
KS: League Two.
He’s already shown in his time with Harrogate Town that he’s good enough for this league, and he may also be able to play at a lower level in League One, but he needs to improve the defensive side of his game and his decision-making if he wishes to play at a higher level.
He doesn’t track back and help the defence. He needs to get both up and down the pitch as a winger and not just up it.
MC: Overall, do you think it is likely that Diamond can break into the Sunderland team at Championship level?
KS: No, I don’t think he’s at Championship level or good enough for the Championship at the moment, so he is unlikely to break back into the team at Sunderland, in my view.