Thoughts on Whatmore
I closed Sunderland for six years before heading to the Gazette this summer, so I saw a lot of Whatmore and talked to him several times.
One thing is for sure, in Whatmore, Boro will get a player who is positive in terms of character, both on and off the field.
Whatmore was released by Sunderland this year after suffering two serious knee injuries that cost him almost three years of his life.
Prior to the injuries, Whatmore was one of England’s brightest young talents – a regular under Gareth Southgate’s 21-year-old England and Sam Allardyce’s Premier League Sunderland side.
But after recovering from two ACL knee injuries, Whatmore could not ignore what he struggled with – with serious injuries and he was unable to find form anywhere near where the front injuries were developing. Regular ugly injuries could not have helped the form because he always struggled to get a game.
Sunderland were largely releasing him, but he was one of the highest earners at the club, his contract was a PL-era at the club and his salary was something they could not go on – since he had not started a game since December as Bill Parkinson had moved to a team after the new year Rarely changed.
Whatmore has always felt that a new challenge is needed, and his character can guarantee that they will sign on to a firm, good guy wherever he goes.
But his fitness is a concern, and he is known to struggle with the final product.
Borough can actually make an extra choice above and Whatmore has the versatility to play as a striker or wide forward – although they can simply make a big, strong striker, Whatmore is a fast, shoulder-off-the-last-defnder type.
Beggars cannot be selectors, and if he can prove his fitness at his trial, he will be eager to impress and prove himself.
The new challenge and confidence he could get from Neil Warnock would be perfect for getting closer somewhere with the player who was before Whatmore’s first ACL injury.