Sunderland manager heaps praise on Manchester United loanee Amad Diallo

Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray is delighted with Amad Diallo’s impact on his squad.

The 20-year-old is spending the season on loan from Manchester United and has continued to flourish in the red and white of The Black Cats.

So far, Amad has registered nine goals and three assists in all competitions. His confidence on the pitch has grown significantly throughout the campaign and the youngster will certainly give Erik ten Hag a huge decision to make in the summer as to whether or not he stays at United next season.

In my opinion, Ten Hag won’t send Amad on another loan spell. He’s already been out three times at Atalanta, Rangers and Sunderland respectively and with the game time he’s been granted under Mowbray, he definitely has enough experience to take on the Premier League now – especially with how Alejandro Garnacho broke through this term.

Currently, the young winger is representing Ivory Coast having been called up to the squad again, as well as fellow United loanee Eric Bailly.

Mowbray on Amad

Speaking via the club website, the Sunderland boss lauded Amad for his displays and mentality, and reflected on his arrival at the Stadium of Light.

“I think my first game was against Rotherham at home and I didn’t see him beforehand. We picked the team but we’d only had one day’s training and I think he got introduced to the crowd at half-time in that game.

“It took him a few weeks, to be honest, and I almost put him in the mix with the other young foreign players the club had signed, players from France and Costa Rica, and Amad. I had watched Amad come off the bench generally for Glasgow Rangers in the season prior and saw little bits and bobs but it didn’t take him long.

“After a few weeks, I think all the coaching staff could see the talent, I’m going to say the brilliance he has with the ball. The ball seems so easy to him, on his left foot, but he needed to build his own confidence levels up, I think to the point where, maybe eight weeks ago, he was scoring almost every game. I think he goes through one spell of five in six games, something like that.

“A wonderful talent but, as you say, he’s quite a shy kid who never puts himself really forward, he never peeps up and says why didn’t you do this, why aren’t I getting the ball here, I should be getting it more. I just tell the team really to try to get it to Amad. Work the ball to Amad, work it to Patrick Roberts, work it to Jack Clarke, to the talent in the team. Generally, they make the right decision with the ball and we’re all delighted with Amad and his progress.

“Listen, I think it’s amazing Sunderland have got such talented footballers. For Amad, the ball is so easy. I was manager of Blackburn Rovers for five-and-a-half years and I took a lot of players from Liverpool, Manchester City, the north-west clubs around us really. I’m trying to think but Harvey Elliott was the last one and he’s doing okay for himself now but I personally like talents, I like good footballers, where the ball is easy for them.

“It’s not enough to be a footballer, of course, you have to have character, personality, resilience to bounce back from bad days, be brave. If you’re a top footballer, though, you have to be comfortable with the ball, take it in tight areas and Amad can undoubtedly do that. I encourage the team to give him the ball as often as possible and, generally, he makes really good decisions. He knows when to pop it off and when to dribble. He has got a left foot where the ball seems stuck to it sometimes.

“And we try to bring his personality out so that he can interact with the other players. He’s developed a really tight relationship with Patrick Roberts and they’re both wonderful technicians. They’ve both got good left feet and generally, in the game, left-footed players seem to be a little bit more confident and smooth-looking don’t they, left-footers? Probably because it’s the only foot they ever kick it with!

“I’m more than happy to have the talent we’ve got in the squad and I think Amad fits into it. A lot of our goals this year have come down the right-hand side, when Amad is playing like a no.10 on that side with Roberts really wide. The way they link and play each other in, dribble or stick the ball in behind and cut it back to each other. I am sure there are lots of goals as examples you can find with Amad and Patrick interacting with each other. So, yeah, I’m just happy he’s our player.

“The other important thing worth mentioning is how robust he has been. So many games, I know Manchester United are playing a massive amount of games, every three days of course, but we had a five-week spell where it was literally every three days and the robustness of the boy to keep playing, to start every game. I very rarely bring him off, I think I’ve only brought him off once in a game. Considering he played so little football over 90 minutes for any team really.

We’re delighted he’s here. I hope he’s progressing, I hope Manchester United see the development of him, just playing football. I know Gary Pallister very well and I sit with Pally sometimes and we have a coffee and I say to him the football club shouldn’t worry about the boy with the ball. I say worry, I’m sure they don’t as they paid a few quid for him and know what they’ve bought.

“If he’s got the right personality and only time will tell when he is among the star players at United, whether he can integrate and become part of what they want to do because they shouldn’t fear he is going to lose the ball too often or give the ball way or make bad decisions. At this level, he is a maestro with the ball. If feels for me, at United, he would integrate with those high-quality footballers and they wouldn’t have any problem lending him the ball, as you might say in football, as sometimes you give the ball to somebody knowing he’ll give it to you back or slip you in to score. The ball is not a problem for him, whatever he does with it.”

“I’ve been trying to say to you the ball isn’t a problem to him, he can play wide, he can play inside, he can play deep. I think he can play centre-midfield for us in the Championship, you know. Just give him the ball and he very rarely loses it. Yet we generally put Roberts really wide and play Amad just inside him.

“We’ve had huge success down the right-hand side of the pitch with those two linking and playing with each other, people running off the back of the two of them and sliding people in. It’s very profitable for us. He is versatile. I see United games, I watch a lot of football, and Bruno [Fernandes] plays a bit of everywhere, off the right sometimes, inside as a 10 or as a running 8, he can play deep and link the midfield up. Amad is a similar type of footballer.

“I hope Amad will bring personality to the team when he gets back to Old Trafford and he will find his niche in that group. If not, Sunderland are always welcome to have him back because he’s been amazing for us!”

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