Sunderland boss had this revealing response when asked about Will Grigg's future
Lee Johnson has left the door open for Will Grigg to leave Sunderland this summer – but insists he won’t hold grudges against players.
Grigg, 30, has one year left on his contract at the Stadium of Light and came off the bench during Tuesday’s 2-1 Carabao Cup win at Port Vale.
Two of the striker’s former sides MK Dons, Sunderland’s opponents this weekend, and Wigan Athletic have shown interest in Grigg but have since made other attacking signings.
During a loan spell at MK Dons in the second half of last season, Grigg scored eight goals in 20 appearances, yet he’s fallen down the pecking order at Sunderland and is facing an uncertain future.
When asked about the striker, Johnson told the Echo: “I think Will has got a bit to do to be honest with you. He’s a good player, you can see the balance and technique, the finishing and quality.
“I think the postcode isn’t ideal and where Will is he’s going to need to commit more in his actions and his training, that comes with having to be at your best at every minute of every day and we very much demand that quality.
“I wouldn’t say his desire because he definitely has desire but it’s that commitment to regular professionalism at the highest level.”
Johnson also highlighted Grigg’s family situation which may influence the striker’s next move.
“Will has made it pretty clear over the period of time that he wanted to get back closer to his family that are residing in around the Midlands area,” Johnson added.
“In that sense you then have very different agendas, some people’s agenda is to create the best possible team from the best possible funds. His agenda will obviously be to provide for his family and be happy, happy as possible for that family and still get paid as much as he possibly can. The other club, potential suitors, the same as Sunderland, will be to get that player in at the lowest possible cost.
“I think that will wash itself out over the course of the next 19 days, but at the same time there is never a grudge held and every individual has got to do all he can to maximise his chances of being in our team.”
Ross Stewart is set to lead the line for Sunderland at MK Dons, after scoring in the 2-1 win over Wigan last weekend, while Aiden O’Brien played up front and scored from the penalty spot against Port Vale last time out.
When asked if it’s a position where the club are still looking to strengthen this summer, Johnson replied: “I think we’re in the market and it’s as simple as that. We are working hard behind the scenes.
“I think it is an area that we have qualities, without a question of a doubt, but is also an area where we are maybe short of a couple of those qualities that we want to take us to another level.”