Lynden Gooch is happy to ride to Sunderland’s rescue and fill in at full-back as he looks to help end the club’s four-year stay in League One purgatory. Gooch has demonstrated his versatility this season, with Black Cats boss Alex Neil and his predecessor Lee Johnson both using him in a variety of different positions.
He has played in both full-back roles, as a wingback on either side, in midfield, and also as a wide forward at various times. Gooch admits it has been difficult adjusting to the different demands of those roles, but insists he will play anywhere as the club looks to achieve promotion to the Championship via the play-offs.
“I’ve said for years that I’m willing to play anywhere for the team and the lads and the club,” said Gooch, who played at right-back in Friday’s 1-0 play-off semi-final first leg win against Sheffield Wednesday at the Stadium of Light. “You have to change your mindset in the way you play in each different position, that’s why I think sometimes people say someone’s not good enough with this and that.
“You are constantly changing your mind with the way you have to play the game and there are different roles with what you are doing. I just try to the best of my ability to help the team and that’s my role at the minute.
“We have kind of struggled in full-back positions this season and myself and Carl Winchester have had to really step up on that right-hand side. Even on the left at times, when we have had injuries, I have had to play there so I just try to do the best I can.
“Obviously it’s difficult at times for myself but it’s for the good of the team. And, to be fair, I think people are starting to see now that I can defend.
“I think managers play me there because they trust me and they know I can play both sides of the ball. That’s why I think managers have played me in those positions when needed and at the minute I pride myself on defending well and helping the team .When I can attack I try and attack the best I can.”