April 13, 2024

“The Ukrainian striker took a while to settle on Wearside, but he’s improving all the time and it’s a testament to his strength of character,” says Hollis.

In 2024, Sunderland AFC is a football club that is still patient with its players.

Our game is all about developing new talent, and Nazariy Rusyn is a prime example of this.

The Ukrainian front was a long-term transfer goal for Sunderland in the summer, and his signing resulted in the club investing a couple of million pounds on a striker for the first time in a while.

Despite signing in late August, he didn’t make his first start until the end of October, and there has been little consistency in selection since then, whether with Rusyn or any of the other strikers signed in the summer.

Rusyn demonstrates that it is critical to remember that footballers are real beings, and that moving overseas is difficult, with more going on than we see on the field.

He traveled 1,500 miles away from home, without his family, to a country whose language he did not understand. Moving away for employment is something many of us have done, but this must have been particularly difficult.

The Ukrainian has had to wait his turn, but Michael Beale’s ambition to make Sunderland a more direct side has paid off handsomely since the turn of the year.

For weeks, he’s been making fantastic forward runs but hasn’t been seen by our midfield. He has had more success with this in the U23s, and his two goals against Leeds last week were the consequence of his mobility being rewarded.

If that translates to the first team, Rusyn might thrive as a forward in a Sunderland shirt.

He seemed to be happier in his recent outings. This is undoubtedly due to his family’s relocation to England, but it is also possible that his new boss has increased his trust in him.

He was brought in from the bench to assist Sunderland get back into the game on Sunday, and in less than 30 minutes, he proved to be a big issue for the Middlesbrough backline with his quickness and dashes.


Patience is finally paying off for Nazariy Rusyn at Sunderland - Roker  Report


His goal was an example of him peeling away into space and being picked out by a winger, which hasn’t happened often this season.

Of course, there was some good fortune involved in the goal, but Rusyn made the run, struck the ball perfectly on the half volley, and fired it on target from the edge of the box. It was a goal that rewarded his efforts and Sunderland’s patience with him.

Rusyn is obviously improving, and he’s making a strong case to be Sunderland’s main man up front.

Sunderland saw his movement and finishing talents early on, and turning him into a Championship forward is one of several projects the club is now working on.

The Ukrainian’s growth is something both he and the club should be proud of.

The frustration of not signing a’ready made’ striker in the last several windows has become louder, but if we genuinely develop the forwards we have, those shouts may begin to quiet down sooner than later.

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