SAFC v Chelsea

Boss hails Wickham

by Kate Smith

O’Neill happy with Connor display.

Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill handed Connor Wickham his first start in a Sunderland shirt for almost a year in Saturday’s game with Chelsea.

This season the young striker has made just two appearances from the bench and after impressing in his last outing against Norwich, he was rewarded with a start against the Blues.

The 19 year-old created a number of chances against Rafa Benitez’s side and wasn’t intimidated by reigning European Champions.

After the match O’Neill paid tribute to the forward: “Connor did fine in the game.

“He’s got the physical attributes and he knows what qualities he needs to add to his game,” the manager continued, “I thought he did well.

“He was up against Gary Cahill, an England international, and David Luiz is a very fine defender.

“I didn’t think that Connor was ever outmuscled by them. He’s still learning and the test against Chelsea was good for him.”