Connor Wickham tells Soccer AM about Sunderland's 'miracle' Premier League survival

Last Updated: 20/05/14 10:21am

Connor Wickham told Soccer AM he was woken up by Gus Poyet to come and rescue Sunderland's Premier League status.

With the North East outfit rooted to the bottom of the table, 1/6 with bookies to be relegated and Poyet telling the press his side would need a 'miracle' to stay up their fate seemed sealed.

"We didn't expect to do as well as we did but every time against the bigger teams we seemed to perform. We were ruining coupons."

Connor Wickham

However, on March 24 Poyet turned to England U21 hitman Wickham, who was on loan at Leeds, in a bid to transform the clubs fortunes.

The powerful forward was asleep at the time - but fortunately for Sunderland fans he returned the call, went back to his parent club and fired five goals in an incredible three games and helped propel the Black Cats to safety.

"When he first rung me I was asleep and I had to call him back," explained Wickham.

"He said 'we're going to call you back tomorrow', so I had to drive back. He told me I was going to go straight in against Liverpool and that's where it started.

"We had to play Liverpool, Man City, Man United and Chelsea away so we were thinking 'what are we going to do'.

"We didn't expect to do as well as we did but every time against the bigger teams we seemed to perform. We were ruining coupons.

"We thought it would take a miracle to do what we did and I think we are the only the second team to stay up after being bottom at Christmas. But I could never imagine us going down.

"We took 12 points from a possible 15 at the end of the season so it was something special."

Wickham had plenty of praise for boss Poyet and says he has enjoyed the attention he's received since his own end-of-season run of good form.

However, despite pledging his allegiance to England - the forward is also eligible for Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland - the 20-year-old says he thought calls for him to be called up for England's World Cup squad were premature.

"It was crazy," he said. "When you're playing well you get noticed a lot more when you go out; people ask you stuff and say 'thank-you'. But I was only doing my job.

"It was good and nice to get myself back in the limelight, though. I helped out and I did what I had to do. But we shouldn't have been in that position anyway.

"In terms of England, no, I didn't think that was possible to be called up for the World Cup. I hoped so and I want to play for England one day and I guess after a few games and a few goals it's going to get some lips moving. But I didn't think so, no."