by Chris Dunlavy
GUS Poyet didn’t get much right as Sunderland manager, but one of his biggest blunders was luring Will Buckley from Brighton.
Sure, he’s a decent player, but Premier League? Even Brighton fans couldn’t believe that, especially having watched the winger dazzle and disappoint in equal measure.
On form, Buckley can torment any full-back. Quick, tricky, good on the turn – just ask Newcastle, whose entire back line were eating dust as the 22-year-old bundled them out of the FA Cup in 2012, arguably his finest hour in a Brighton shirt.
Yet Buckley’s form was as fitful as a broken strobe, and just as irritating.
For every man-of-the-match performance, there were five where he was marked to death, got injured or simply vanished into thin air.
No young player is a paradigm of consistency. Everyone has a bad day. But those are faults to iron out in the Championship, not with top-flight strugglers in a grim relegation battle. Poyet didn’t mind a luxury player. Dick Advocaat certainly does. Is it any wonder the Dutchman found no room for Buckley in his 25-man squad?
Now he has joined Leeds with much to prove. On paper, it is a match made in heaven. Leeds have lacked genuine pace and a creative spark since Robert Snodgrass headed for Norwich.
Manager Uwe Rosler, meanwhile, is not the type to accommodate slackers. A disciplinarian who demands hard work, he simply will not allow Buckley to have the 90-minute strolls that Poyet indulged.
If Buckley can seize his chance – and I mean more than once a month – Leeds have got a matchwinner on their hands.