ADIL AOUCHICHE scored his first Sunderland goal at the weekend – now the French forward is being lined up for his first start in a Black Cats shirt.

Aouchiche has had to be patient since moving to Wearside from Lorient in the summer, with all eight of his Championship appearances so far having come off the substitutes’ bench.

His 16-minute cameo against Birmingham City at the weekend was his most productive so far, with his close-range finish just two minutes after coming onto the field enabling him to open his account in English football.

Tony Mowbray had intended to hand him his first start at Leicester City last month, only for an untimely pre-match injury to rule him out of the game at the King Power Stadium, but with the fixtures set to come thick and fast once the current international break is at an end, the Black Cats boss is confident it will not be too long before Aouchiche is featuring in the starting line-up.

“I think he (Aouchiche) is ready, and we’ve said that,” said Mowbray, whose side sit in sixth position in the Championship in the wake of Saturday’s 3-1 home win. “He was going to play away at Leicester, he was going to start that game, but he picked up an injury and so we went again with Jobe (Bellingham).

“We feel he’s up to speed now. We felt he was before and we were ready to put him in, but he picked up that knock. He’s up to speed again and he’s come on and scored for us.

“Somewhere down the line, around the Christmas period when we have so many fixtures, he is going to be starting football matches. And if he is scoring goals, then it’s going to be the other lads asking me why they’re not playing, and I’ll be telling them it’s because Adil keeps threatening the goal, scoring and creating. That’s football, a competition within a competition in your club.”


Aouchiche began his career in the youth ranks of Paris St Germain, and made his competitive debut for the reigning Ligue 1 champions in August 2019.

He made three senior appearances for PSG before moving to St Etienne, and spent three years with that club, making 77 first-team outings, before heading to Lorient at the start of last season.

A technically-proficient ball player who can play in midfield or attack, Aouchiche should add another valuable string to Sunderland’s goalscoring bow provided he maintains his current level of progress over the next few months.

“He is very accomplished with the football,” said Mowbray. “We won’t worry about him and whether it (the move) is going to keep breaking down on Adil - he is very talented.

“He wants to break the box and get in there to try and score. The competition for Adil is as a number ten, I think. So, it's Jobe, (Bradley) Dack, (Alex) Pritchard. It’s been tough for him while we didn’t feel he was quite ready to actually put him in.”