Sunderland, Sunderland star Alex Pritchard reveals the key role Lee Johnson played in getting him back to his best

Sunderland star Alex Pritchard reveals the key role Lee Johnson played in getting him back to his best

Sunderland attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard has said Lee Johnson played a key role in helping him get the fire back in his belly before joining the club in January.

Pritchard joined the Black Cats as a free agent following stints with both Norwich City and Huddersfield Town.

His time in red and white began slowly as he picked up a knock and caught covid very early on.

However, when he built up match fitness, he proved exactly why he previously cost £12million and played in the Premier League.

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Pritchard has shown he is a cut above League One and with 18 goal contributions in the 2021/22 campaign, proving to be a pivotal player in Alex Neil’s promotion push.

Now, the former Spurs youngster has shed light on what former Sunderland boss Johnson told him to persuade him to join the Black Cats and to help him get fired up for a return to the game after a spell out.

Speaking to Chronicle Live on the matter, Pritchard said:

“I remember the words he said. ‘If you love football again, I’ve got no doubts. If you don’t love football, I don’t know what will happen.”

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“To be fair to him, I’ve got that fire in my belly again and obviously things happen in the season – he went and Alex Neil has come in.”

Maintaining the momentum

Pritchard unfortunately has a history of injuries and ensuring he stays fit and carries this form into next season could be the key to Sunderland’s success in their first year back in the Championship.

The 29-year-old has a good amount of experience at this level and will be one of the leaders in the dressing room next year.

Having worked with Neil, the relationship between the two is already very strong and they go hand in hand tactics-wise.

This can only help Sunderland and for the first time in a while, with Neil at the helm and Pritchard in the squad, the future looks bright on Wearside.

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