By Kevin Phillips

10th Dec, 2020 | 4:05pm

'Unforgivable' - Exclusive: Kevin Phillips savages Sunderland star backed by Johnson

Kevin Phillips is baffled as to why new Sunderland manager Lee Johnson has recalled Will Grigg to the starting eleven.

The Stadium of Light legend, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, said the 29-year-old is one of a number of players who needs to “step up” after an “unforgivable” loss against Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

Grigg made just his third league start of the season on Saturday as Lee Johnson lost his first match in charge at home to bottom-of-the-table Wigan.

The newly-appointed Black Cats boss publicly backed the struggling striker yesterday and suggested he could return him to his best form.

Phillips did not share Johnson’s confidence in the Northern Ireland international.

“Good luck to him,” he told Football Insider.

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“Do I see him performing? No I don’t.

“He has not done it at all since he has been at the club. I just think sometimes a club does not suit a player and I fear this is the case with Will Grigg.

“Lee Johnson clearly believes he can get the best out of him but from what I can gather there has been no difference in Grigg’s play whatsoever.

“I hope Johnson can get a tune out of him but it did not pay off on Saturday.

“Getting beat off bottom-of-the-table is unforgivable really, not Lee Johnson because it is his first game, but the players have to do better. They have to step up and Will Grigg is one of those players that has been very disappointing.”  

In other Sunderland news, Kevin Phillips baffled by new appointment at the Stadium of Light.