Fans favourite Luke O’Nien has spoken out about his role at the club, his future on Wearside, his relationship with new gaffer Lee Johnson and SAFC’s run of form and what lies in store for Black Cats supporters in the coming few weeks.
“I think it's an exciting time to be back with a game every four or five days. There's lot of games to play, lots of points to play for, and we've given ourselves a good three points today. The crucial part of finishing a season is consistency and momentum, and there's no better time to do that than now. I let myself get frustrated for about a day, because if you get frustrated you're the only real loser. I let myself have a little mope for about 24 hours, and then it's all about planning. I think what I've learnt in the last few months is that it's about planning and focusing on what you can do. If you focus on what you can't do it gets very frustrating, but there's always something you can do. It's been a good time for me in terms of that I've learnt a lot about myself, my mindset and coming back stronger from it. From the outside it may look like a bit of a tough time for me, which it is, but where there's tough times you can learn a lot from these things. I've taken a lot away from being on the sidelines. Everyone trains to want to play games and to be sidelined for a while; it's a little bit frustrating. You want to be a part of it so to get back out there felt really good. A big thanks to all the physios and staff for putting up with me in the physio room, because I'm a bit of a nightmare in there. I think the mentality any player should have is that you're always playing for your future - no matter whether you've got six months or six years left on your contract. For me, it's been the same since I signed my first contract to now. You're always going to be playing for your future. We haven't quite pinpointed that because I've played a lot of different positions recently, I just really enjoy my football. I've asked the gaffer that wherever he puts me he judges me on that position, not as someone filling in. For my own personal pride, I take a lot of pride in wanting to play well wherever I play. I spend a lot of time watching clips and trying to narrow down where my best position is, but for now if the gaffer wants me for 2 minutes or 90 minutes in a position then I'll make sure I can do that. I think one of my main strengths is that energy - not just on the football pitch but away from it as well. It drives my missus nuts sometimes! Energy is one of my core strengths and that can benefit the midfield with having to go box-to-box. I'll make sure that whatever position I do play I'm turning weakness into strengths. That's something I'm always looking to do - so play me anywhere! We were speaking the other day about whatever position I play, we can get stats on that. Stats are facts and I can improve my performance based on them, and he's (Lee Johnson) going to help me produce. He's always talking to me, his door is open for anyone and I enjoy his sessions too. Now we just need to make sure we get on a good winning run for him.”