Kevin Phillips has urged Declan John “to be ready” when given his first taste of football in a Sunderland shirt. 

The former Black Cats striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, admitted the 24-year-old has had an “unfortunate” start to life on Wearside but stressed it was “nothing to read into.”

John joined on loan from Swansea City in January but is yet to feature in a matchday squad for Phil Parkinson’s side.

Denver Hume has been preferred in the left wing-back position, the 21-year-old having made 28 appearances in League One so far this campaign.

Phillips encouraged the Wales international to be patient after suggesting his selection was no fault of his own doing but more testament to how well the side is playing.

“Unfortunately, sometimes in your career, you go to a team and you think because you have come from another club and in this case a Championship club, you think you are going to start every week,” the ex-England goalscorer told Football Insider.

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“From the time he came the club have had an upturn in fortune so it is just about patience really.

“We have seen with Bailey-Wright getting injured and Ozturk coming in and doing a job that things can happen quickly, so the kid has to be ready.

“There is nothing to read into, it is just unfortunate that he has come to a team doing very well at the moment.”  

Defensively, the Red and Whites have been in fine form, keeping 8 clean sheets in their last 10 league matches.

Next up for the Black Cats is a trip to St. Andrews to face second-placed Coventry City with three points enough to lift the visitors above their promotion rivals on goal difference.

In other Sunderland news, Kevin Phillips has told Football Insider his thoughts after “huge” night at the Stadium of Light.