ONSIDE: Frustrating Stephane Sessegnon’s contribution underestimated by Sunderland fans

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STEPHANE Sessegnon and Simon Mignolet earned Sunderland a point at the weekend but only one of them is being given the praise he is due.

Benin international Sessegnon has come in for some criticism this season from fans and the media while his Belgium team mate has been linked with Arsenal and been awarded the North East Football Writers’ Player of the Year award.

But both showed their class with a game-saving strike and a game-saving stop to secure a point for Sunderland against Fulham on Saturday.

Sessegnon was fired up from the off and despite playing in a wide role, he was influential in every move forward that Sunderland made eventually ending in a strike from the edge of the box that flew past Mark Schwarzer.

Mignolet, who was out-foxed by Dimitar Berbatov for Fulham’s opener from the penalty spot and beaten by a strike from Sascha Riether, pulled off a marvellous stop from the Bulgarian forward just moments before Sunderland pulled level.

But as a fan, I can see why people get frustrated with Sessegnon.

He needs to shoot more and be more direct when he has the ball in the final third and be more selfish when the chance arrives.

But his contribution to the Sunderland side has been underestimated this season and I just hope that we don’t have to use the old cliché of “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”.

If Sessegnon, or Mignolet for that matter, were to pack their bags and leave the Stadium of Light in the summer it would be nothing short of a disaster.

Where would we be if Mignolet had not performed as well as he has done this season?

We have a good squad that needs some improvements but you can see what O’Neill is trying to build.

Ha’way the lads.

- Martin Dunn