Coming off a game winning goal for Sunderland against local rivals Newcastle, one might have expected Fabio Borini to be focused on the present and a strike that will have done no harm to his continuing efforts to establish himself in the starting eleven for the Black Cats. According to the striker, though, his main focus remains on the future—and on returning to Liverpool next season.
"I remain a Liverpool player," he insisted in an interview with Italian radio station Rete Sport. "I'm on loan because there wasn't space for me and, after a year of injuries, I needed to get my confidence back, to play some games. But my roots are still there. There has been a squad revolution there, but the worst thing for me was getting injured when I was actually playing at the start of last season."
Borini has only played in four league matches for Sunderland, coming off the bench three times—including on Sunday against Newcastle—and lasting less than sixty minutes in his only start of the season when Sunderland lost to West Brom in September. Certainly a game winning goal in a derby match will help with the confidence, and it may even help with playing time, but Borini remains a ways off from being a lock in the starting eleven for Sunderland.
A few more game winning goals, though, and that might just start to change. With a little luck, he might even find himself back in contention for a major role at Liverpool by season's end. It's a long shot, but at least Borini knows what he has to do to get that shot and was realistic enough to understand that, after last season, at least in the short term he had to head somewhere else. In a sport where every player seems to think he could start for Barcelona if he only got the chance, it's a oddly, refreshingly realistic outlook.
Sunderland, still adrift near the bottom of the table despite the win over Newcastle, next face Hull City, with the Tigers standing a surprise tenth in the league after a strong start to the season.