League One challengers Sunderland will welcome Bali Mumba back this summer but can he be the Black Cats’ answer to Trent Alexander-Arnold?
Sunderland starlet Bali Mumba is thriving in a wide attacking role during his loan spell at South Shields, telling the Sunderland Echo that a new role suits him down to the ground.
At the age of just 18, one of the Football League’s most exciting young talents has already proved himself in a wide variety of positions.
An all-action midfielder who started his career through the middle has increasingly found himself playing at full-back in the red and white stripes recently.
But, since joining Northern Premier League outfit South Shields on a temporary spell, Mumba has spent much of his time on the wing, tasked with creating and scoring in equal measure while using his pace and trickery to good effect.
Mumba commemorated his new role with a fine strike during a 5-3 victory over FC United of Manchester last weekend and the England U19 international is certainly relishing his responsibilities.
“The manager is using me as an attacking threat, playing me more in the wide areas and the midfield. He just sees me as someone who can be a dangerous player,” says Mumba, who views Liverpool’s assist-machine Trent Alexander-Arnold as an inspiration.
“With my attacking ability I can cause problems and get some goals that lead to wins.
“I’ll be going back to Sunderland with that experience of playing attacking football. I’ve been playing full-back at Sunderland and that will help me [in that position]. As a full-back now, you need to have that attacking ability.”
Sunderland aren’t exactly overloaded with options at right-back with Conor McLaughlin enduring a mixed debut season with the Black Cats. The ever-versatile Luke O’Nien, meanwhile, is more comfortable in the centre of midfield than he is on the flanks.
So as long as Mumba continues to develop away from the microscope at South Shields, he will be doing his chances of a first-team role under Phil Parkinson no harm whatsoever.