Kevin Phillips has been told Luke O’Nien has a brilliant attitude and claimed he should win the Sunderland player of the season award.
The 2000 European Golden Shoe winner, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, applauded the versatile midfielder for being first to and last to leave training.
The 25-year-old has impressed as a right-wing back since Phil Parkinson took over in October and has established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet at the Stadium of Light.
O’Nien has scored four goals in 43 appearances for the Black Cats this campaign.
When asked who would receive his vote for Player of the Season, Phillips told Football Insider: “I would have to say O’Nien. He has probably been the most consistent performer.
“The keeper has been good as well, pulled off some crucial saves but O’Nien for his versatility. He has that never-say-die attitude and just keeps going.
“From what I gather, he is first in the stadium and last out and is the same on the training pitch. That does not automatically give you Player of the Season but I like his attitude.
“I know Gooch and Maguire have come good of late but in the early part of the season, they were not effective. I would probably say O’Nien.”
— EFL (@EFL) March 16, 2020
The Red and Whites currently sit in seventh after an indifferent patch of form saw them slip out of the play-off spots in League One.
The EFL has suspended all fixtures until April 3 due to the outbreak of coronavirus but that date is expected to be pushed back further.
In other Sunderland news, Kevin Phillips has told Football Insider what is next for Duncan Watmore.