Bendtner backed by O'Neill
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill believes on-loan striker Nicklas Bendtner can become "a real proper player".
Last Updated: 22/12/11 6:06pm
Martin O'Neill has challenged Nicklas Bendtner to continue to prove himself at Sunderland after an impressive display against Queens Park Rangers.
The striker netted his third goal for the club in Wednesday night's 3-2 win at Loftus Road, opening the scoring with a header from Sebastian Larsson's free-kick having earlier hit the post.
The Denmark international, who is on loan from Arsenal, had, however, recently made the headlines for the wrong reasons when he was arrested along with Lee Cattermole on suspicion of causing criminal damage to parked cars in Newcastle city centre.
He has since apologised and vowed to focus on his football, with O'Neill insisting Bendtner can become "a real proper player".
"He's a fine player in the making," the new Sunderland boss said.
"I do accept you could probably still talk about him having potential at 23 but there's a cause there at Sunderland and really it's up to Nicklas to want to be in that cause.
"He's committed himself and I thought his performance was excellent (against QPR). He can be a real proper player."
O'Neill was quick to praise Bendtner and forward partner Stephane Sessegnon for their efforts in the win at Rangers, with both men finding the net.
Although the hosts pulled it back to 2-2 at one stage, Sunderland grabbed all three points when defender Wes Brown headed in the winner in the closing minutes.
"We scored three goals and, for a side that doesn't score that many goals, that has to be encouraging," O'Neill added.
"I thought the centre-forwards were absolutely terrific. Sessegnon was out of this world and Bendtner really showed what he's capable of doing."