Things haven’t exactly gone to plan for Laurens de Bock at Sunderland and, speaking to The Chronicle, the Leeds United loanee has admitted that he is under pressure to prove himself all over again to new manager Phil Parkinson.
A left-back who was playing Champions League football just three years ago finds himself stuck in the third tier of English football.
After flopping at Leeds following a £1.5 million move from Club Brugge, De Bock was farmed out to Sunderland on a year-long deal over the summer. But the Belgian has played just two League One games so far due to injury and now finds himself stuck in limbo after Jack Ross, the coach who brought him to Wearside, was replaced by Parkinson just weeks after De Bock arrived.
The 27-year-old also faces a challenge to usurp youngster Denver Hume, who appears to be Parkinson’s favoured option on the left, and his reputation was hardly enhanced by his role in Tuesday’s humiliating home defeat to Leicester City’s U21s in the EFL Trophy.
“Its up to me to improve and prove myself to the coach,” De Bock admits. “I need to keep working hard. The manager has to pick and Denver is also playing very well, so its up to me to show him that I also want to play.
“It’s a pity but it’s not the first time I’ve been in this situation. I’ve had it before when I have come to a new club and then, after two weeks, a new manager comes in.
“It’s never easy.”
Whatever happens at Sunderland, don’t expect De Bock to ever wear the famous white shirt of Leeds United again. He has not played a single minute of football since Marcelo Bielsa took over at Elland Road in 2018 and it’s not often that the famously obstinate Argentine changes his mind.
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