Throughout my years of supporting Sunderland, many players have come and gone as fan favourites; be it Kevin Phillips, Julio Arca or the defensive rock that is Nyron Nosworthy, yet few have generated a roar around the Stadium of Light each time they touch the ball, beat an opposing player or simply have their name mentioned.
One player who does warrant this fan attention is French midfielder Steed Malbranque. Arguably the creative force behind the current crop of Sunderland stars, Malbranque is currently enjoying his third season in red and white stripes following his capture by former boss Roy Keane.
Always admired by Sunderland fans for his skilful approach, this year Malbranque has truly come into his own and fully deserved his often guaranteed starting position each week.
The roars of ‘Steeeeeeed’ that echo around the Stadium of Light reiterate how the French star has become a favourite on Wearside and is regarded by many as the revelation of Bruce’s Sunderland reign, finding his best form in recent weeks.
In the opening games, not once has Malbranque looked out of place sharing the field with the likes of James Milner, Steven Gerrard and Andrey Arshavin, showing moments of brilliance against each time, epitomised by his trademark nutmeg that leaves the opposition lagging and confused.
Genuinely, Steed is a player capable of making it into any of the top Premier League sides, with a skilful first touch, committed attitude and silky footwork, along with his improved stamina levels.
Maybe for a midfielder, Malbranque doesn’t get enough goals, yet the amount he creates and the belief he instills throughout the team and amongst supporters is an asset I am grateful to have at Sunderland A.F.C.
Hopefully Steed can contribute even more in the upcoming fixtures and provide more inspired moments and the technical wizardry we all know he is capable of. Keep it up Steeeeeeed.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.