Sunderland: Journalist hails Alex Pritchard for fine display in Championship opener

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Journalist James Copley has heralded Alex Pritchard for his efforts in Sunderland’s opening draw in the Championship this weekend.

The Black Cats got off to a fast start on their return to the second tier when Lynden Gooch’s deep cross found Jack Clarke to head home after 12 minutes.

However, Viktor Gyokeres grabbed an arguably deserved equaliser when he drove a shot past Anthony Patterson on 84 minutes as the sides shared the spoils.

Pritchard was one of the standout performers for the Mackems, earning an 8/10 rating from Sunderland Echo writer Phil Smith, with the writer highlighting his work rate as he ‘never stopped pressing’, while James Hunter of ChronicleLive awarded him a 7/10 for his performance, commenting on his ‘real quality on the ball’ and how it will be vital at this level for Alex Neil’s side.

Speaking on The Roar podcast immediately following the game, Copley also sang the praises of the 29-year-old maestro.

He said: “I was massively impressed – I know he got Sky’s man of the match – with Alex Pritchard. I thought he was absolutely sublime, not for the aspects of the game that you necessarily associate with him, although he does run a lot and he does battle.

“Today I just thought he grafted really well. There was a moment in the second half where he nicked the ball off a Coventry player who was shaping up to shoot in the box, probably saved a goal.”

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Indeed, Neil’s chief creator from League One last term with nine assists put on a fine display on the other side of the ball on Sunday.

He made two tackles, won four duels and was fouled once (SofaScore) as he put in a combative display that really took the game to the visitors.

The former England U21 international has made 128 Championship appearances during his career and has been involved in 40 goals, with his experience no doubt going to prove paramount this season and fans will be hoping he can turn in that level of performance on a consistent basis.

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