Gus Poyet's exclusion of Connor Wickham from his starting line-up last night was a damning indictment of the striker's recent form, considering his comments before the match.
Poyet had said that he would pick a 'strong and powerful' side to take on Hull City, but Wickham still didn't make the grade.
The 6ft 3inch, hulking centre-forward appeared to fit Poyet's description perfectly, so to see him sitting on the substitutes' bench was a surprise.
It shows just how poorly he has been playing recently, though, and this should serve as a wakeup call for the 21-year-old.
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Wickham has all the potential to go on and become one of the Premier League's leading marksmen, but he needs to start finding form.
He is at an age now where he should be beginning to establish himself as a first-team regular and his regression, therefore, is concerning.
Wickham has scored just four times in 30 matches for the Black Cats this season and that total simply isn't good enough.
Up until last night he still seemed to have the faith of Poyet, but it is hard to see his exclusion on Tuesday as anything but a snub, considering Poyet's description of his starting line-up before the game, and the Uruguayan's patience in him appears to be running out.