Coach laying on one-to-one work.
Former England winger Steve Guppy is playing a role in helping to sharpen Sunderland’s attacking instincts.
The 43-year-old is first team coach under Martin O’Neill’s guidance having joined the club following a spell in America.
While across the Atlantic with Colorado Rapids, Guppy provided one-on-one guidance to the club’s attacking players.
Taking a player on is difficult but at least we can work on it so that, on a matchday, players feel like they’re in a good place to be successful
- Steve Guppy
And he’s reprised that role on Wearside with the aim of increasing chances and – ultimately – goals.
“When I was with Colorado I became very interested in individual position-specific work, especially with forward-thinking players," he explained.
“We did a lot of one-v-one work in the final third, focusing on players taking on opponents with a decent end result.
“The repetitions really helped us. Often training sessions are two-touch, and I understand as a coach why that is needed.
“But the problem is a winger or forward is told to get at defenders on a matchday and they haven’t practiced it.
“That’s something we’re really keen to work on.
“Taking a player on is difficult but at least we can work on it so that, on a matchday, players feel like they’re in a good place to be successful.
“Ultimately that will lead to them setting up opportunities or scoring goals.”
And Guppy says he’s been delighted with the response to his sessions, with James McClean amongst the players who have already benefitted from the former Leicester man’s guidance.
“James is a fabulous talent and it’s great to have the opportunity to work with such good players,” he said.
“He has bought into it which is great, as have plenty of the other lads.
“First and foremost, the manager will inspire them and give them everything they need. It’s up to me to add that extra couple of percent if possible.”