Seb Larsson admits he has been playing through the pain barrier to help Sunderland’s survival bid.
Larsson is a major doubt for Sunderland’s trip to his former club Arsenal this weekend due to an ongoing knee ligament problem after starting each of the Black Cats’ back-to-back wins over Crystal Palace and Stoke.
The injury was plaguing the Swedish international during last weekend’s 2-0 victory over the Potters and he was duly removed from set piece duties, before eventually being substituted just before the hour mark.
But after previously starting just three Premier League games this season and with Sunderland embroiled in the depths of the relegation scrap, Larsson was desperate to play his part in turning around the Black Cats’ fortunes.
“Yeah, I was struggling on Saturday, from the start really,” said last year’s Player of the Season.
“But you try to do your best and you want to play obviously.
“I haven’t played much this season and you obviously want to help the club win.
“I’m used to playing a lot of football and when you don’t, it’s frustrating.
“I was desperate to take a few free-kicks, but I’ve had this problem, so there was no need for me to get on set pieces.
“But I wanted to stay in the game, rather than causing more damage.”
Larsson’s eagerness to contribute towards Sunderland’s bid to remain in the Premier League was demonstrated by his disappointment at being substituted at Palace last week.
Yet it proved to be an astute move by Sam Allardyce, with replacement Duncan Watmore helping Sunderland to a result which proved the springboard for Saturday’s follow-up success against Stoke.
“I wasn’t happy coming off at Palace at all!” added Larsson.
“But that’s part of football.
“Personally, it’s been frustrating not been involved as much this year.
“But I think I’ve been fairly patient and kept my head down, and been called back into the team.
“We’ve managed to get two wins as well, which is obviously satisfying.
“Two wins is massive for us and sends a message that we’re a team on the up.
“But we know how quick it can change.”
If Larsson misses out on the clash at the Emirates, then Allardyce does have options in the middle of the park, if he is to keep faith with a 3-5-2 system.
Ola Toivonen has been an unused substitute for the last two games, while Jordi Gomez and Jack Rodwell haven’t even been on the bench.