Lynden Gooch has been a player who has given his all for Sunderland in the many years he’s been associated with the club. Although his inclusion in the squad has been questioned, rightly so on some occasions, he’s a player who always gives it his all.
As our now longest-serving player, Gooch has been a part of the ride for years. From the slump down from the Premier League to League One and then the step back up, he’s seen it all. There have been times where you think his time on Wearside would come to an end, but just as it seems this way he steps up and shows what he can bring to the team.
Injuries to multiple defenders have given Gooch his opportunity. With his usual position on the right side of midfield looking well-stocked, slotting in at left back might be where we see Gooch play much of this season.
Gooch like many of his teammates has endured a campaign riddled with injury, so much so that his 90 minutes away at Burnley last week was his first start since the 3-1 defeat to Swansea City back in January.
With our injuries mounted up, he was tasked to play left back at Turf Moor and make up one quarter of a makeshift defence. Our trip to Burnley was viewed as one where we would probably get turned over. The script had been laid out in front of us and throughout coverage of the match, Sky Sports were firmly fixed on Burnley and how they should really be getting three points.
However- they and Vincent Kompany were left frustrated thanks in part to Gooch and his defensive colleagues. His stand-out contribution was a last-ditch block, one which was an example of him putting his body on the line, but it was an all-around fantastic display.
He was energetic up against wingers who had helped fire Burnley to the brink of an immediate return to the Premier League. He closed down crosses, got stuck in when needed and looked keen to play the ball forward whenever he could.
The much needed performance was reassuring for both us as fans and for Gooch himself. I’d imagine there are few better feelings for professional footballers than completing a full 90 minutes and contributing to a valuable result following an extended spell on the sidelines.
Gooch can be reliable when he’s required, which in these last seven games look likely to be quite a lot. With the injuries we have until the end of the season (and on the premise everyone else stays fit) he’ll get his chance in the backline. You’d imagine this would hinge on how fit Dennis Cirkin is following his spell out with a concussion, with Cirkin playing a full 90 minutes for the under 21s on Tuesday.
The question of whether or not Gooch will be a Sunderland player next season won’t be answered in these next seven games.
However, he’ll do his chances of being a part of Tony Mowbray’s plans in the summer if he can have a couple of repeats of his performance at Burnley.