Sunderland legend thrilled after 'great' O'Nien news confirmed

By Kevin Phillips

25th Jan, 2022 | 7:00am

O'Nien tipped for 'major role' after 'big' Sunderland news confirmed - Phillips

Kevin Phillips is thrilled to hear Sunderland midfielder Luke O’Nien could return from injury ahead of schedule.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the Stadium of Light legend said the 27-year-old’s return will be “a great boost” ahead of the push for promotion.

O’Nien has been sidelined with a shoulder injury since the 1-1 draw with Shrewsbury Town in mid-November.

Speaking to club media (20 January), Lee Johnson revealed the utility man is back out on the grass with fellow long-term absentee Aiden McGeady.

Johnson added that O’Nien is determined to return from his injury “quicker than anyone ever has” and backed his player to do so.

When asked by Football Insider for his reaction to the news, Phillips said: “It’s great to hear that.

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“It will be a big boost when he’s back. To get back a player of his versatility ahead of the business stage of the season will be fantastic.

“He’s a good lad to have around the squad day in and day out. I have always spoke very highly of him. To get him back would be a great boost for Lee both on and off the pitch.

“He will have a major role to play between now and the end of the season.”

Speaking on O’Nien, Johnson said: “If you listen to Luke, he wants to come back quicker than anyone ever has from an injury like his, and I wouldn’t put it past him.

“He’ll have laser focus on his rehab.”

In other news, Phillips fears Sunderland could repeat transfer mistake after Defoe update.