Billy Knott

Billy enjoying loan life

by Ashley Houghton

Knott sharpening his game at Woking.

Sunderland winger Billy Knott says the physical demands of Conference football have made him a more complete player.

I’m eager to prove myself and come back to Sunderland a much better player

- Billy Knott

Knott, 20, has been on loan at Woking since October and despite a couple of injuries has quickly become a fans’ favourite at the Kingfield Stadium.

And the former Chelsea and West Ham youth believes he is benefitting from the demands of first-team football.

“I think playing in the Conference is a lot different to the style of football with the under 21’s; it’s a lot more physical and in your face,” he explained.

“I know technically I’m a good player but both myself and Bally [Kevin Ball] felt I needed to go and work on my game off the ball – in terms of when to press and when not to press.

“I’m getting the chance to do that at Woking and, before my injury, I was probably the fittest I’ve ever been."

Knott injured his hamstring in the early stages of the Cardinals' 3-1 defeat to Newport County and the England U20 international told that the injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for him as his side put together a winning run.

“I was flying,” he explained. “The team were winning and I was playing well so it was really frustrating but I guess that’s part of football.

“The team have done really well on the whole; they were promoted from the Conference South last season so to be in the top half this year is a fantastic achievement.

“I’m eager to prove myself and come back to Sunderland a much better player.”