sport

Buckley relishing opportunity

Sunderland winger Will Buckley is confident manager Gus Poyet can turn him into an effective performer in the Premier League this season.

The 24-year-old was belatedly handed a top-flight debut as a substitute by Poyet in last weekend's opening day 2-2 draw at West Brom, some seven months after the Sunderland boss had hoped to be able to do so.

Poyet was unable to prise Buckley away from former club Brighton in January, where he had helped the player to make the transition from League Two to the Championship.

On Sunday, Buckley will hope to test himself against Manchester United at the Stadium of Light confident that Poyet can help him to fulfil his dreams after his recent 2.5m move earlier this month.

Buckley 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 was playing for Rochdale in League Two when Watford handed him the chance to step up to the Championship 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 invest 1m in his services.

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."