At the Stadium of Light, this destructive winger quickly became a fan favorite.
Sunderland’s ascension from League One to now starting an assault on the Premier League is a stunning turnaround in such a short period of time.
Apart from a 4-0 defeat to North East rivals Middlesbrough last time out, the Black Cats have been firing on all cylinders this season, thanks to their strong spine of goalkeeper Anthony Patterson, centre-back Daniel Ballard, central midfielder Dan Neil, attacking midfielder Jobe Bellingham, and winger Jack Clarke.
While the squad’s remarkable young talent has been essential in their early promotion attempt, other members of the squad, including the promising Patrick Roberts, may not have exceeded last season’s form.
How has Patrick Roberts performed this season?
Last season, Roberts was a significant component in Sunderland’s play-off campaign, with Tony Mowbray describing him as a “natural talent” for displaying his plethora of skill and trickery.
The 26-year-old’s five goals and seven assists from the right side were the most he’d managed in a single season for an English team, suggesting that Roberts was nearing the end of his Premier League potential.
Former manager Alex Neil praised the Englishman as a “little magician,” but he has yet to back up that boast and sprinkle some more magic this season.
The quick-footed winger has dazzled defenders with his precise dribbling and quick acceleration this season, ranking in the top 16% for progressive carries against his positional peers in the Championship, top 5% for successful take-ons, and top 1% for carries into the final third, according to FBref.
However, when it comes to generating an end product to match the build-up, Roberts has fallen short, squandering three major chances, only creating one, shooting just 0.4 shots per game, and accumulating zero goal contributions, according to Sofascore.
When compared to Amad Diallo, who was lethal in the final third last season, the Manchester United youth is light years ahead.
Fortunately, speculations suggest that Sunderland may recall him on loan in January, and if so, he could replace Roberts in the starting XI and propel the club to promotion.
How good was Amad Diallo last season?
Diallo had a devastating impact on the Championship. The 21-year-old consistently displayed his great qualities, such as his blistering pace, press resistance when carrying the ball, fleet-footed dribbling, and an end product to match.
Diallo not only ranked in the top 6% for progressive passes in the second tier last season, but also in the top 8% for shot-creating actions, the top 12% for successful take-ons, and the top 15% for progressive carries, according to FBref.
The Ivory Coast international delivered fantastic figures and performances to demonstrate why Manchester United paid Atalanta a whopping £37 million for him in January 2021, as praised by his Sunderland colleagues and termed “incredible” by Luke O’Nein.