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Jan 28, 2013

N'Diaye wants to get in amongst the goals

Sunderland new boy Alfred N'Diaye feels there is more to his game than just the defensive side, while he claims he models himself on Patrick Vieira.

• Blog: Fletcher offers hope

N'Diaye, 22, joined the Black Cats earlier in the month having built a reputation as a physical defensive midfielder. But the former Bursaspor man, who has made two appearances for his new club, is keen to show he can help Martin O'Neill's side up the other end of the pitch too.

"Sometimes I like to get forward," he told the Journal. "I like to work defensively but I don't like to stay there all the time. My first job is to play well defensively, get the ball and give good passes. Sometimes if I see a space to run into, I'll get forward. I don't go every time in a game.

"The player I loved was Patrick Vieira, he was a very good player. He was definitely the best midfielder in the world. He used to take the ball and just charge forward. I would love to be able to play like him, but it's very difficult! I hope to be a good player like him. That's what I'm working for. He's a legend in France.

"In France I didn't score many because my team was set up differently. Sometimes I played in defence, sometimes in midfield. When I played in midfield I was normally a defensive midfielder and I didn't join the attack.

"In Turkey we played good football and I had more opportunities to get forward. I scored eight goals. We played 4-2-3-1 and in my first year I played alongside a holding midfielder who was more defensive than me so I played box-to-box. Sometimes I'd hold, but sometimes I'd be able to get forward."

With Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole edging closer to a first-team return following a knee injury, there's every chance O'Neill may afford N'Diaye the opportunity to get forward, but in the meantime the Frenchman is happy in whatever role he's asked to fulfill.

"I haven't played with him yet because he's injured, but I've spoken with him," N'Diaye said. "I know him and I've seen him play for England Under-21s. He's more defensive than me. For me it's not a problem. I don't mind playing defensively or more offensively.

"I hope we can continue to play like we have in my first few weeks here. We have won two league games and we've won five of our last eight. I hope we can keep playing like this and maybe finish in tenth position. I think that would be good for Sunderland. I want to work hard to play a lot of games and do well for Sunderland."

Meanwhile, the Black Cats have signed young goalkeeper Maksymilian Stryjek from Polonia Warsaw. Stryjek, 16, is believed to have agreed a four-year-deal with the Wearside club.

"I would like in two years to be in the first team," Stryjek told warszawa.sport.pl.

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