Forget Defoe, Ricky Alvarez can be Sunderland's most important player

Ricky Alvarez has failed to have the desired impact since signing for Sunderland last summer.

Sunderland's Ricky Alvarez hasn't had the best of times at the Stadium of Light so far, but he may be their most important player during the second half of the season.

Alvarez's arrival this summer, on loan from Inter Milan, created much anticipation on Wearside, but he has struggled to live up to expectations.

A match-winner on his day, Alvarez hasn't made much of an impact in the North East, with injury problems making the transition to English football problematic.

However, now he is fully fit, Sunderland will be relying on the Uruguayan trickster to inject some spark into their play.

The Black Cats have struggled to create chances this season and, as a result, their goalscoring tally looks particularly poor.

With just 18 goals in their first 21 games, Sunderland are the second lowest scorers in the Premier League and they will need to show a huge upturn in form.

Jermain Defoe has been brought in to increase their attacking threat, but Alvarez's role in the side may be an even more important one. 

A natural dribbler and a creative influence, Alvarez has all the attributes to add exactly what has been missing from Gus Poyet's side's play if he manages to find his top form.

At the moment the South American is without a goal or an assist, but having recovered from a lengthy set-back he is approaching full fitness and the time for excuses is running out.

Sunderland are looking for a hero in their fight against the drop and Alvarez has all the potential to fulfil that role, it is just up to him to seize his opportunity now. 

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