Sunderland boss David Moyes has challenged striker Victor Anichebe to get back to his “unplayable” best to revive his Premier League career.
At just 28, the Nigerian found himself without a club having been released by West Brom when the summer transfer window closed last week, only to be handed a lifeline by his former Everton manager when he signed a short-term deal with the Black Cats.
Now Moyes is hoping he can get the man who burst on to the scene as a teenage powerhouse at Goodison Park back in business after taking a chance on him.
Moyes said: “I would like to get back to the Victor I know who can be at times can unplayable, but he also has to get himself in a condition to do that and I need to feel he is ready.
“He has something to prove. We have kept him on a short leash, he’s got one year here, so it’s up to him to get on pitch and score the goals.
“He will give us something else. We didn’t get a striker in the window and Victor was available after the window had closed, so it let me get that done.
“But I know what he can bring and if he’s got his get his mind correct and he’s physically right – and I’ve worked with him before and he knows me well – it’s a great opportunity for him to show what he can do, and maybe for him to realise as well he didn’t have loads of takers out there waiting for him.
“So now it’s, ‘Get up, roll your sleeves up and show everybody what you are about’ because he can be on his day very, very difficult to play against.”
Moyes was desperate to add firepower to his squad during the summer, but the window closed with Jermain Defoe and Joel Asoro still his only specialist frontmen, hence his swoop for Anichebe, who he believes still has plenty of time to prove himself all over again and earn an extended stay at the Stadium of Light.
He said: “He’s young enough to show what he can do and young enough to hopefully – he’s here to earn more and show us what he can do, and he will get chances because we don’t have enough.
“At the moment, we have got to go to January with us really only having Jermain Defoe and young Joel Asoro, we are certainly short of forward players.”
Anichebe will not be involved against the Toffees on Monday evening, and neither will Gabon international midfielder Didier Ndong with the player yet to arrive in the north east because of administrative issues surrounding his move.