By Kevin Phillips

16th Apr, 2021 | 7:00am

Phillips: This may be the real reason Maguire dropped from Sunderland squad

Kevin Phillips is “surprised” by Chris Maguire’s lack of game time at Sunderland under Lee Johnson.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the 2000 European Golden Shoe winner heaped praise on the 32-year-old who has “had a positive impact” whenever called upon this season.

Maguire has missed out on Sunderland’s last three matchday squads, in which the promotion hopefuls have picked up just one solitary point.

The winger, who has contributed eight goals and seven assists in 38 appearances this season, has less than three months remaining on his contract at the Stadium of Light.

Phillips believes the resurgence of Aiden McGeady and the January arrival of Jordan Jones may be the real reason behind Maguire’s absence.

“I am surprised by his lack of involvement this year but we do not know what he has been like on the training ground week in, week out,” he told Football Insider.

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“I have seen Maguire quite a few times this season and when he has come on he has had a positive impact. It is a surprising but there will be a reason he is not playing every week.

“It is important to remember that they have some great attacking players at the moment. Aiden McGeady is back, Jordan Jones has settled in well and then O’Brien has come into some form as well.

“There is a lot of competition for those spots but even so I am surprised he has not been given more minutes. I am sure he will have wanted more.”

In other news, Kevin Phillips points the finger at Johnson after a ‘massive blow’ at Sunderland.