Sunderland won again and Amad scored again to move into the play-off places to prove those at his parent club right.
Amad had three goals in five starts at the time an influential figure at Manchester United suggested he required a run of 10 consecutive starts to showcase his ability. He scored his sixth goal in the tenth at Wigan on Thursday night.
The 20-year-old winger has proven United right in a league measured at a greater intensity than Serie A. Amad’s strike, Sunderland’s fourth in an emphatic 4-1 victory, was a blockbuster that altered the away-dayers’ roar from a ‘yaaah’ to a ‘whooa’.
A handful of fans jubilantly hurdled the first fence of advertising hoardings as Amad approached them. For a set of followers underwhelmed by Adnan Januzaj, the last left-footed winger they loaned in from United six seasons ago, Amad has exceeded expectations.
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“I propose we create a human shield around Amad Diallo preventing Manchester United from ever taking him from us. Who’s in?” tweeted the Roker Report account.
Sunderland have risen to fourth in the Championship table and, for United supporters scanning live score apps for the Mackems’ results, Amad’s form is an entente cordiale a decade on from Sunderland fans’ Poznan at the Stadium of Light.
Amad has the second-highest shot accuracy at Sunderland and is third for conversion rate. A more flattering stat would be seven goal contributions in 11 starts. Amad’s assist at Birmingham, where he wriggled away from four opponents and slotted in Ellis Simms, was worthy of acclaim.
Simms is on loan from Everton while Patrick Roberts and Jack Clarke are skilful foils. Tony Mowbray, who replaced Alex Neil as manager in late August after he defected to Stoke, has coached enterprising Championship teams in West Brom and Blackburn.
A £37million signing largely unused by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ralf Rangnick and Erik ten Hag, Amad’s presence in the Championship indicates he is not a write-off at United. David Beckham, Ben Foster, Jonny Evans, Tom Cleverley, Jesse Lingard, Axel Tuanzebe and Dean Henderson have had varying degrees of success in the United first team on the back of dropping down to the old Second Division.
United bought Amad from Atalanta a year after they sold Dejan Kulusevski to Juventus. Kulusevski could have been a transformational transfer in January had United made an 11th-hour approach to offset Mason Greenwood’s indefinite absence and it is difficult to envisage Tottenham finishing fourth without the Swede.
Spurs have lost one of the eight Premier League games Kulusevski has appeared in this season. During his six-match absence with a thigh injury, they lost three. Kulusevski’s guile in the right-hand channel helped gain a point at Brentford on Boxing Day.
Both left-footers, Kulusevski and Amad are as patient as fishermen, prone to motionless phases before frantically claiming the catch. On his home debut for the United Under-23s, Amad was stationary inside the Blackburn ‘d’. Suddenly, he scored.
“The goals are coming from the left f—–g side,” bemoaned Blackburn goalkeeper Jordan Eastham in United’s 6-4 win. Amad created three goals and scored one.
It would be remiss of United not to give Amad a fair crack of the whip, particularly as Antony still flatters to deceive. The Brazilian lacks credible competition and Anthony Elanga, Kulusevski’s international teammate, is not a more effective attacker than Amad.
United’s frontline remains imbalanced through their surfeit of right-footed left-wingers and ahead of a January that could consist of as many as nine games, there must be a temptation to exercise the recall option in Amad’s arrangement.
For Amad’s own sake, challenging for promotion to the Premier League with a club whose profile was elevated by an engrossing Netflix documentary has to be preferable. He would not play regularly under Ten Hag, who only used Amad off the bench as a ‘false nine’ during pre-season. Amad ended it by scoring against Rayo Vallecano.