Sunderland manager Jack Ross has admitted that he has asked a lot from new signing Conor McLaughlin after playing the full-back out of position in his early Black Cats career, while speaking to the Chronicle.
Back at the start of July, Sunderland looked to have pulled off an inspired piece of business. In Northern Ireland international McLaughlin, the Wearside giants had a defender with plenty of League One experience under his belt after spells at Preston, Shrewsbury and Fleetwood Town.
The 28-year-old has endured a difficult start to life at the Stadium of Light, however, though he hasn’t been helped by Ross’s contentious preference to a three-man back line.
A right-back by trade, McLaughlin has been forced to adapt to a new-look central role and gave away a penalty with a clumsy challenge in the 3-1 Carabao Cup win at Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.
“It’s a part of the pitch that we need more options in and (against Accrington) that showed that because we were asking Conor to play out of position for us,” Ross told The Chronicle. “He’s doing OK but it is not entirely fair on him.”
Fortunately for McLaughlin, Ross appears to have finally moved away from his three-man defence in favour of a more traditional 4-4-2 variation.
McLaughlin, and a number of other Sunderland players for that matter, should thrive amid a change in formation with Ross looking to belatedly get the best out of a talented group of players who haven’t won a league game since the start of 2019/20.
Sunderland signed McLaughlin as a right-back. Now, he will finally get to play there.
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