Buckley aiming for dream impact
Published 23/08/2014 | 15:21
Sunderland new boy Will Buckley is relishing the challenge of taking the next step in his football education under Gus Poyet.
The 24-year-old winger finally joined the Black Cats this month to end Poyet's seven-month chase for his former Brighton star and could make his home debut against Manchester United on Sunday.
Poyet was unable to prise Buckley away from the Seagulls in January, where he had helped the midfielder make the transition from League Two to the Sky Bet Championship, but signed him for £2.5million earlier this month.
And against United Buckley is confident that Poyet can help him fulfil his dreams.
He said: "Obviously, everyone knows what he did as a player but I have worked under him now for over two years and his passion just comes across to the players in a good way.
"He just gets the best out of me. Hopefully he improves players, that's one of his qualities, and hopefully I can carry on improving now I have joined here as well."
Buckley's rise has been impressive - since he was playing his football with Rochdale in League Two when Watford handed him a Championship chance in January 2010.
By his own admission, the progression was not straightforward, but he adapted to such an extent that within 18 months, Brighton were prepared to pay £1million for him.
He said: "When I went from League Two to the Championship, for the first couple of months, I actually struggled, then I saw myself improving day to day. Hopefully that can be the same with the Premier League."
Buckley had 17 minutes as an emergency right-back at The Hawthorns to assess just how much he has to learn as he makes his latest step forward, but one difference between the Premier League and the Championship was immediately apparent.
He said: "They let you have the ball a little bit more comfortably, but when it gets to that final third, it's going to be more difficult to create goals and score goals, which everyone wants to do."
Buckley joins former Brighton team-mate Liam Bridcutt at the Stadium of Light with Poyet backing him to rise to the top-flight challenge.
The South American tended to play with a lone striker last season with the likes of Adam Johnson and Fabio Borini - the Italian remains tantalisingly out of the club's grasp as the close of the transfer window looms - providing support.
A similar role would hold no fears for Buckley, who admits his instinct is to attack.
He said: "Growing up, I was always a striker but when I first broke on to the professional scene, I started playing as a winger and that's probably my best position now.
"I can play up front, but as a winger is probably where Gus has bought me to play.
"With the three he plays up there, it's interchanging and you get to play all along the front three, so I am comfortable playing in any one of those positions."
Sunderland - who are without Emanuele Giaccherini (groin) - will be looking to inflict a second defeat in a week on United after Louis van Gaal lost his first game in charge to Swansea.
Van Gaal signed Marcos Rojo for £16m from Sporting Lisbon in mid-week but the defender will not play at the Stadium of Light as he is yet to receive a work permit.
The boss insisted he felt like he had gone from the king of Manchester to the devil after defeat but United legend Dennis Irwin insisted he is not worried about the direction of the club.
He said: "We have to trust him because he is an experienced manager he has won things everywhere he has gone," the former defender said at the launch of Manchester United and Apollo Tyre's 'Go The Distance Pitch' at Old Trafford.
"It was a disappointing result and a poor performance but going forward, I think we might need a little bit of patience for the manager to get his ideas across
"He has been with us for a month. We had a lot of matches in the first two and a half three weeks of pre-season so he didn't really get much of a chance to get his ideas across.
"It's only now and within the next two or three months that his philosophy will eventually come through.
"Last year wasn't a good year for us, finishing seventh, particularly with the 23 years we had previously, but I think we will have a really good year."