Alamy Stock Photo Dennis Cirkin (file pic).
'I like him a lot' - Praise for Sunderland's highly rated Dublin-born matchwinner
Dennis Cirkin marked his return to action with an assist and a goal.

SUNDERLAND BOSS Tony Mowbray hailed “brave” matchwinner Dennis Cirkin after he sparked a superb comeback against Wigan on his return from injury at the weekend.

Cirkin, 20, had picked up a hamstring injury in Mowbray’s first match in charge but marked his return with an assist and a goal.

The former Tottenham youngster was born in Dublin to Latvian parents but has represented England at underage level.

He left Ireland at the age of three, but could still potentially represent the Boys in Green, as well as England or Latvia, at senior level.

The Black Cats had been trailing at half-time after Charlie Wyke scored on his return to the Stadium of Light, but Mowbray’s tactical switch at the break helped turn the tide.

The head coach said the most important factor in the win was the bravery his players showed on the ball after the interval.

“We talked at half-time about quickening everything up, take throw-ins quickly and free-kicks quickly,” Mowbray said.

“I told them I’m not interested in possession stats, I want to see shots.

“We scored a couple of goals and looked a threat. I think we looked comfortable in the first half and conceding came as a shock to us.

“We’ve got good quality footballers but I want to challenge them to play at a high tempo, to play in behind the opposition. The very best teams have a line of five or six right up the pitch, not eight players behind the ball.

“These are the things we have to work on. We’re integrating young players but we have to win along the way, so it’s an important three points.

“We’ve drawn 0-0 in the last two home games which has been frustrating for us, so this was important. We had a lot of good moments in the second half. I want us to be a brave football team and we were there.

“It’s an amazing, brave header from Dennis to win it for us, he’s not favourite to win that header but he launches himself at it from five yards.

“Dennis is an emotional, deep individual who is desperate to do well in football. He’s got the qualities I like in a footballer.

“If the match is a clever, technical game he can join in and play, if it’s an emotional battle he can bring his shield and sword and go to war. I like Dennis Cirkin a lot.”

The young left-back left Tottenham for Sunderland last year, but he has recently been linked with a potential return to Spurs, while Brentford are also reportedly interested, after some impressive performances in the Championship this season.

Asked about this transfer talk following the weekend’s game, he told reporters: “I haven’t heard about any of these rumours, I’ve tried to stay away from it.

“I just try and play for Sunderland and I’m just trying to get back in the team here and that’s my main goal.”

Additional reporting by Paul Fennessy

Press Association
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