Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson thinks he has a player with ‘real potential’ in back-up goalkeeper Lee Burge, speaking to the Northern Echo, despite dropping the former Coventry City man for Jon McLaughlin three months ago.
With a Scotland international enduring an error-stricken start to his second season at the Stadium of Light, summer signing Burge looked well placed to establish himself as Sunderland’s new number one when Parkinson replaced Jack Ross in the autumn.
But, despite a run of five League One games in October and November, the 27-year-old hasn’t been seen since November with McLaughlin rediscovering the form that made him the third-tier’s standout goalkeeper in 2019/20.
Parkinson, however, insists that he is still a big fan of Hereford-born Burge and would have no qualms about bringing back into the starting XI if a change is required.
“(McLaughlin) had genuine competition because Burge is a good keeper - he will consider himself unlucky not to have stayed in for longer,” said the former Bolton Wanderers boss.
“You almost say that goalkeepers get to their peak around their early 30s. Burgey’s got real potential.”
Sunderland won just one of their five games with Burge in the starting XI but that is no reflection on the former Sky Blues favourite, who proved himself to be a reliable understudy in McLaughlin’s absence.
With two solid options in their ranks, the hand-wringing days of Lee Camp, Robbin Ruiter and Jason Steele are thankfully long gone.
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