Elliot Embleton reveals his Sunderland target
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The 23-year-old wasn’t always a regular starter as the Black Cats won promotion from League One, yet he certainly came up with some important goals and assists during the last campaign.
It was the first time in seven matches that Embleton hadn’t been named in Tony Mowbray’s starting XI, as the midfielder was introduced to support Amad Diallo in a central attacking position.
Asked about his conversations and instructions from Mowbray in recent weeks, Embleton told the Echo: “It’s different game to game but I’m quite versatile.
“I’ve played off the left, the right, as a false nine, as well as a ten and a bit deeper. I enjoy it, as long as I play my football I’ll play anywhere.
“Game to game it differs because I play different positions, but in the main it’s to get in the box and get goals.
“Over the last few games I’ve managed to pick up a few goals which was missing from the first little bit of the season. Hopefully I can kick on and get some more.”
After weeks playing without a recognised striker, Sunderland were also helped by the return of Ellis Simms at Luton.
The Everton loanee came off the bench in the closing stages as Sunderland applied some late pressure, and will give the team a different dimension following his injury setback.
“We’ve been unlucky not to pick up some better results to be honest, even without a striker,” added Embleton.
“Having a striker as good as Ellis earlier on in the season was brilliant for us.
“Getting him back in the team and having someone to play off, someone to run in behind, and defensively from set-plays he’s a big presence.
“I think we can only get better and have been good without our strikers, but they are a big help.”
Still, with lots of competition in the attacking midfield positions, Embleton is aware he may not be able to start every game during a congested campaign.
For now his focus will be on Wednesday’s trip to The John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield, with just three matches remaining until the World Cup break.
“There are a lot of games and you can only focus on the next game really,” he added.
“I wasn’t starting at Luton, hopefully I start on Wednesday but that’s obviously the gaffer’s decision.
“It’s the same with everyone. Everyone has to be bought into it and if everyone sticks together I’m sure we’ll be fine throughout the season.
“Last year when we were in League One we obviously had the cup games and that was constant as well.
“The lads would prefer to be playing the games than training, that's for sure.”