Everton striker issued challenge by manager amid injury issue as Raheem Sterling example given

Ellis Simms is currently on loan at Sunderland where he is now their only fit natural striker.
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Ellis Simms has been backed to step up to the challenge at Sunderland in the absence of their star striker.

Simms is currently on a season-long loan from Everton at the Championship outfit.

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He’s made a bright start to life at the Stadium of Light, scoring three goals in seven games.

However, Sunderland have lost their main centre-forward in Ross Stewart for the next two months after tearing his thigh.

That leaves Simms, 21, as the Black Cats’ only natural number nine.

And Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray - who succeeded Alex Neil in the hot seat last month - believes Simms can meet the demands.

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However, he’s been told to focus more on being between the posts to covnert goalscoring chances.

What’s been said

Speaking to the Northern Echo, Mowbray said: “I think Ellis will rise to the challenge.

“As long as he does not put too much of a burden on himself . That’s why the rest have to step up as well.

“I think for Ellis, the biggest challenge is to play between the sticks when the chances are created. I would never tell him not to work hard, but sometimes strikers who work too hard taking themselves away from the goal and chasing down channels , they are the ones crossing the damn thing when they should be in the middle putting it in the net.

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“That is my message to him really. Be a bit more selfish, between the sticks. You have to work hard, and I am sure he will because it is in his nature, but be selfish enough to get in between the posts and finish the chances off.

“How did (Pep) Guardiola change (Raheem) Sterling from a five, six or seven goals per season player into a 25-30 goal-a-season striker? I don’t think he was teaching him anything about where he put his feet, it was about where he had to be. And basically, he now plays between the sticks and scores tap-ins every season.”