LISTENING to The Anfield Wrap a couple of weeks ago I was surprised by the willingness in some quarters to write off Fabio Borini’s coming of age season at Sunderland.
A coming of age season for a forward player who has scored six goals for a side who have practically lived in the relegation zone since August? Hear me out.
If there is one moment that encapsulates this then it is standing atop the advertising boards at St. James’ Park, saluting the Newcastle fans after giving Sunderland the lead in their February derby. Footballers, especially the younger sort, are often said not to understand or appreciate the rivalries in English football. Here Borini offered a full-blooded two-fingers to that outdated, almost offensive train of thought.
The celebration that followed his penalty, the opening goal of a 3-0 win, was at worst irresponsible, but at best a real indicator of the fiery passion that lies underneath his oft-perceived soft outer layer. Evidence of this steely underbelly, this inner-resolve, was in scant evidence during his debut season on Merseyside. An injury-ravaged season it may have been, but that just added fuel to the belief that the Italian international was simply not up to the task.