, ‘Needs to be better’ – Mike Dodds opens up on move to drop Sunderland man

‘Needs to be better’ – Mike Dodds opens up on move to drop Sunderland man

Sunderland midfielder Pierre Ekwah has been a regular at the Stadium of Light since breaking into the fold towards the end of the last campaign, but has recently dropped out of the Black Cats’ starting XI.

Sunderland interim boss Mike Dodds has said Pierre Ekwah will get game time over Easter but there are areas ‘he needs to be better with’ amid his drop out the side.

Sunderland midfielder Ekwah has been a regular at the Stadium of Light since breaking into the fold towards the end of the last campaign. In recent weeks though, he’s dropped out of the Black Cats’ starting XI.

Sunderland have faced QPR and Southampton in their last two Championship fixtures, picking up one point from a possible six, both games which saw Ekwah resided to the bench.

Black Cats boss Dodds did use the French midfielder as a substitute in both fixtures. The 22-year-old’s outing against the Saints was brief but he played just over half an hour against the R’s. The results left the Wearside outfit 12th in the Championship table.

Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, Dodds mentioned aspects of Ekwah’s game where he is keen to see improvements. However, he also paid recognition to the positive response from the youngster with two big games over the Easter weekend coming up which he will hope to play a part in.

“I’ve had a couple of conversations with Pierre over the last couple of weeks, just about his general performance and I think he’s got huge potential,” he said.

“He’s got a big future in the game but I do also think he’s got certain things that he needs to be better with, and I pride myself on working with young players and improving them.

“I think that sometimes with young players, they need an honest conversation. Pierre and I have had that, I liked some of the things he did when he came on against QPR and he’d trained really, really well in the week leading up to the game. 

He will definitely feature in one of the two games over the Easter weekend. Pierre has got really, really high potential but it’s about him realising that at the moment, it’s just potential. We need to knit his game together a little bit more.”

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, ‘Needs to be better’ – Mike Dodds opens up on move to drop Sunderland man

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Importance of Ekwah

Since making his debut last year, Ekwah has featured 52 times for Sunderland in all competitions and has regularly shone in the middle of the park for the Championship outfit.

He is clearly a highly thought of player, with good reason too. Although, having gained plenty of senior experience, there’s no harm in perhaps reducing his game time a little when displays haven’t quite been at the standard expected.

Although on paper it appears he has been dropped purely for performance purposes, Ekwah has perhaps earned a rest and may now return with renewed energy when selected for the starting XI again.

As Dodds alluded to, the former West Ham United academy man is an individual with a high ceiling, but there are still components of his game that are in need of ironing out. Dodds’ decision to take him out of the side for a short period may turn out to be exactly what is best for Ekwah in the long run, only time will tell.

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