Former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips has revealed his delight at the return of Grant Leadbitter to training ahead of the new season.
The midfielder began his career with the Black Cats before embarking on spells with Ipswich Town and Middlesbrough.
After returning to the Stadium of Light in January 2019, the 34-year-old made 14 League One appearances during the 2019/20 season but was handed a spell of compassionate leave in February due to personal reasons and it has now been confirmed that he is back training with the club.
Leadbitter’s return could hand Black Cats boss Phil Parkinson an experienced option in midfield, having racked up 533 appearances in his senior career.
With the new season fast approaching, former Sunderland striker Phillips has now discussed the midfielder’s return to action in what he believes will be a superb addition to the Wearsiders’ squad.
“It is great to hear that he is back,” he told Football Insider. “Grant has been a good, steady player over his career. I have watched him a lot over the last five years and he has a lot of experience now. Maybe he cannot get around the pitch like he used to but he can get on the ball and make things happen if Phil Parkinson plays the right players in and around him. He can be a real asset for them.
“Leadbitter is a leader. I completely forgot that Leadbitter was still at the club. He will help the young players that they have already got there.”
Whilst you can agree with Phillips about Leadbitter’s return adding plenty of experience to Sunderland’s squad, it remains to be seen how much of a difference he can make to Phil Parkinson’s team.
The Wearsiders are trying for a third successive year to get out of League One, and whether Leadbitter’s return alone can be the difference in them getting promoted may be debatable.
Do you think Leadbitter can become a key player for Sunderland this term? Let us know in the comments section below…
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