Buckley happy with Poyet reunion
Will Buckley is relishing the challenge of taking the next step in his football education under the watchful eye of Gus Poyet.
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The 24-year-old winger was belatedly handed a top-flight debut as a substitute by Sunderland's head coach in last weekend's opening day 2-2 draw at West Brom some seven months after the Uruguayan had hoped to be able to do so.
Poyet was unable to prise Buckley away from former club Brighton in January, where he had helped the midfielder to make the transition from League Two to the Sky Bet Championship,but launched a successful £2.5million bid earlier this month.
On Sunday, Buckley will hope to test himself against Manchester United at the Stadium of Light confident that Poyet can help him to fulfil his dreams.
He said: "Obviously, everyone knows what he did as a player but I have worked under him now for over two years and his passion just comes across to the players in a good way.
"He just gets the best out of me. Hopefully he improves players, that's one of his qualities, and hopefully I can carry on improving now I have joined here as well."
Buckley's rise has been steady, but impressive - he was playing his football with Rochdale in League Two when Watford handed him the chance to experience life in the Championship in January 2010.
By his own admission, the progression was not straightforward, but he adapted to such an extent that within 18 months, Brighton were prepared to invest £1million in his services.
He said: "When I went from League Two to the Championship, for the first couple of months, I actually struggled, then I saw myself improving day to day. Hopefully that can be the same with the Premier League."
Buckley had 17 minutes as an emergency right-back at the Hawthorns to assess just how much he has to learn as he makes his latest step forward, but one difference between the Premier League and the Championship was immediately apparent.
He said: "They let you have the ball a little bit more comfortably, but when it gets to that final third, it's going to be more difficult to create goals and score goals, which everyone wants to do."
Poyet has few doubts Buckley, who followed former Brighton team-mate Liam Bridcutt to the Stadium of Light, will rise to the challenge as he looks to inject pace and flair into his team.
The South American tended to play with a lone striker last season with the likes of Adam Johnson and Fabio Borini - the Italian remains tantalisingly out of the club's grasp as the close of the transfer window looms - providing support.
A similar role would hold no fears for Buckley, who admits his instinct is to attack.
He said: "Growing up, I was always a striker but when I first broke on to the professional scene, I started playing as a winger and that's probably my best position now.
"I can play up front, but as a winger is probably where Gus has bought me to play.
"With the three he plays up there, it's interchanging and you get to play all along the front three, so I am comfortable playing in any one of those positions."