BENCHED Emanuele Giaccherini is happy to fight for a starting spot at Sunderland, despite limited opportunities since the turn of 2014.
The Italian has not featured in the Premier League since New Year’s Day, with Fabio Borini and Adam Johnson proving to be Gus Poyet’s first-choice widemen.
There was interest from several Serie A sides, including Parma and Fiorentina, in Giaccherini during the January transfer window, while Poyet told the Echo last week that the 28-year-old had grown frustrated by his lack of first-team opportunities.
But Giaccherini insists Sunderland’s Premier League status is more important than his own individual contribution and he is not looking to leave the Stadium of Light after joining the Black Cats in a £6.8million summer deal.
Giaccherini said: “I want to stay here. I’m happy here.
“The gaffer has to do what he thinks is right and choose the best team. It’s important that I train well and make the most of my chance when he asks me to start.
“Borini and Johnson have both been playing well too.
“The important thing is Sunderland, not me.”
Giaccherini started last weekend’s FA Cup fifth round victory over Southampton as one of nine changes to the side.
And with Sunderland facing a hectic fixture programme over the final three months of the campaign – with three Premier League games yet to be rearranged – Giaccherini believes the whole of the Black Cats’ squad will need to be used during the run-in.
“We have a lot of games now and it will be difficult for us to play every three days,” he said.“But there are 25 players here.
“The gaffer has made a big difference and he knows when to use which players and change for the games.
“We saw that against Southampton. There are a lot of good players here and the gaffer can look at things for the next game.”
Giaccherini is likely to make way for the return of Adam Johnson at Arsenal on Saturday, yet the former Juventus man believes it is important that Sunderland add to their points tally at the Emirates before the Capital One Cup final eight days later.
“It will be very difficult for us at Arsenal,” he added. “It’s a great stadium, but we hope we can get something from there.
“I think we’d be happy to come away with a point before the final.”