Sunderland striker Connor Wickham has spoke of his desire to establish himself as a first-team regular ahead of the upcoming Premier League campaign.
Wickham arrived at the Stadium of Light in 2011 after an £8 million switch from Ipswich Town when he was just 18, but has failed to make a real impact after limited opportunities.
Approaching his third season with the Black Cats, the 20-year-old is hoping he can add to his eight league starts and become a regular part of Paolo Di Canio's plans.
Obviously the main aim for the season is to try to establish myself in the first-team this year," Wickham told the Sunderland Echo.
“There’s good competition up front because we’ve got a number of good strikers at the club now.
“But hopefully I can just get my head down, work as hard as I can and make sure I do everything right personally. Hopefully then, the manager will recognise it," he added.
Wickham faces some stiff competition for that place with a number of striking options at Di Canio's disposal.
New signing Jozy Altidore joins the likes of Steven Fletcher, Stephane Sessegnon and Ji Dong-won all trying to impress the manager.
But despite much interest from Championship clubs hoping to strike a loan deal with the youngster, Wickham is ready to fight for his place after a busy summer with the England U21's.
Following a disappointing European Championships, Wickham had just a fortnight to recover before he was back in training, however this doesn't worry the striker.
“I didn’t have much of a summer break. But I just want to play football," he said.
“You do get bored when you’re away for too long, so it was just down to me to come back fit and I was.
“Hopefully, I’ll start becoming fitter and stronger, and I can start getting more minutes with the manager starting to use me.”
Sunderland kick-off their season with a home game against Fulham on August 17.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://bit.ly/12evFlH
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms