Why Sunderland's Luke O'Nien is back to his best and could be a key player for Jack Ross

Luke O'Nien celebrates his goal for Sunderland against Shrewsbury.
Luke O'Nien celebrates his goal for Sunderland against Shrewsbury.

Luke O'Nien was beginning to overthink things on the football pitch, according to Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

The 23-year-old has barely featured for the Black Cats this campaign following his move from Wycombe in the summer, starting just once in the league on the opening day of the season.

But Ross believes the midfielder's difficult spell on Wearside is behind him, after O'Nien came off the bench to score Sunderland's second goal in the 2-0 win at Shrewsbury.

O'Nien was a key player for Wycombe last season, as The Chairboys won promotion from League Two.

And, Ross now hopes O'Nien can replicate those performances in a red and white shirt at Sunderland.

"He has been an interesting one for us, he is still very young and the transition he has made to Sunderland, I have been pleased how he has settled in," said Ross following the Shrewsbury win.

"I think he went through a period where he was overthinking.

"He even came away from doing the things he normally did well in training, we had a chat and he has trained really well this past fortnight.

"He has been back to what he does best.

Ross also believes O'Nien can significantly add to Sunderland's goal tally this season, following his fine finish at New Meadow.

According to the Sunderland boss, it was no surprise when O'Nien slotted the ball past Shrewsbury goalkeeper Joel Coleman with such compose.

"The thing about him is he is a fine finisher, he works so hard at it," said Ross.

"When he gets in to those positions most of us expected him to score. I am delighted for him from a personal point of view.

"He is a young man who has made a big jump and he will now feel properly at home now he has made that contribution."