Lee Johnson reveals why he substituted Jack Diamond as he hails the Sunderland's youngsters display at Lincoln

Lee Johnson says Jack Diamond is playing his way into his Sunderland plans.

Sunday, 13th December 2020, 7:55 am

Diamond kept his place in the starting XI after an encouraging performance at Oldham Athletic on Tuesday night, and rewarded Johnson's faith with a vibrant first-half performance at Sincil Bank.

The 20-year-old won the penalty from which Grant Leadbitter gave his side an early lead, and then scored a wonderful goal to make it 3-0 just before the break.

Diamond chipped Lincoln City goalkeeper Alex Palmer on his weaker foot to all but settle the contest, underlining the significant impression he has made on his new head coach.

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Jack Diamond scores at Sincil Bank

Johnson has already confirmed his intention to bring in a forward player who can 'stretch the game' next month, but in the meantime Diamond has a big chance to make an impression.

"What Jack gives us is an attribute that we haven't got," Johnson said.

"It gives us the ability to stretch the play.

"I remember at Yeovil when my dad signed a lot of good footballers, but we needed someone to stretch the play.

"He signed a lad called for Adam Stansfield for a bag of balls and he just enabled the footballers in the side to play.

"That was the attribute I was looking for.

"It's well known that we're looking for that type of player [in January] but if we've got it in our ranks, then there'll be no need to sign one."

Diamond was withdrawn at the break after being booked early in the contest, and Johnson says he is more than willing to accept the raw edges to his game.

“The referee had basically said the next error [he would be off]," Johnson said

"He’s so quick, it’s not easy to decelerate when you’re running into things. It was just risk averse really, to make sure he didn’t get sent off.

"I look for game impact with the young players" he added.

"They're allowed to make technical and tactical mistakes. If I see Jack make those mistakes, it's my job to work with him on that.

"If it's an attitude error, then trust me I'll be coming down on him like a ton of bricks.

"All I can do is encourage young players like that and hope that they gain the confidence and experience to flourish."

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