Coates focus on Sunderland not Liverpool

Sebastian Coates in action for Sunderland against Hull City. Picture by FRANK REID
Sebastian Coates in action for Sunderland against Hull City. Picture by FRANK REID

SEBASTIAN COATES has put considerations over his Liverpool future are on ice, as he attempts to secure Premier League survival at Sunderland.

Coates’ season-long loan spell from Liverpool has generally been a miserable one, with the Uruguayan making just five Premier League starts for Sunderland and struggling with a niggling knee injury.

I haven’t thought about beyond this season yet

Sebastian Coates

But Coates has helped Sunderland to four points from the last two games after being handed his chance by Dick Advocaat, and will continue in central defence at Everton tomorrow, particularly with skipper John O’Shea a doubt and Wes Brown returning from a six-week lay-off.

It’s an opportunity for Coates to potentially put himself in the shop window, with the 24-year-old unlikely to either have a future at Anfield – where is entering the final 12 months of his contract – or to join Sunderland on a permanent basis.

Yet with the incentive on offer of making his mark at Sunderland by helping the club remain in the Premier League, Coates insists he is not looking beyond the four games over the next fortnight.

Coates said: “I haven’t thought about beyond this season yet. I’m focused on the four games, then we’ll see.

“I don’t know about the future at Liverpool, I haven’t spoken with them yet.

“I think you always need to prove yourself as a player and for me, it’s been a strange year.

“When I came, I had an injury and then I didn’t play too much.

“But now, I have the chance, so I will try to do my best.”

With Brown out injured, Advocaat preferred Coates to fellow South American Santiago Vergini for Sunderland’s trip to Stoke a fortnight ago after the Argentine’s error-ridden display against Crystal Palace two weeks earlier.

That decision paid off in the draw at the Britannia Stadium and although Coates played a part in gifting Southampton their leveller last weekend, Sunderland achieved only their fourth home victory of the campaign.

And despite his minimal competitive involvement this season, Coates says he has found it straightforward to come back into the first-team picture.

“Two weeks ago, I got a chance and I’ve tried to do my best and of course help the team stay up,” he said.

“Every player has to wait for their opportunity and play well in that game to help the team.

“We train every day together, so we know each other well.

“It’s not too different in a game, although maybe there’s some little things because Wes and John have more years together than me.

“Maybe for them, it’s special.

“But I train every day with them both and Santi, and we know each other.”

Coates returns to Merseyside for tomorrow’s lunchtime game, where Sunderland realistically need to keep their points tally ticking over if they are to remain in contention to beat the drop.

Depending on results elsewhere later in the day, a draw may deepen the Black Cats’ relegation worries and Coates know they have to target maximum points.

He added: “I don’t know if I’d call it pressure, there’s pressure every week on you to win every game.

“But maybe now we have to win. That’s the difference.

“We need to get three points to stay up.”