The question of whether Wickham will become a future England international is an interesting one. Aged just 17 he was tipped to be the next big thing and was classed as one of the hottest young talents in the country. His goal vs Sheffield United for instance, proves why.
Connor Wickham goal vs Sheffield united (via SamuelDeCoy)
Following goals such as this, a scramble for his signature began, with Liverpool and Sunderland leading the chase, a chase that Sunderland ultimately won, at a cost of around 8.1 million, with add-on clauses potentially reaching 12 million.
His progress since then has however, been rather slow. One week ago Wickham had just a single Premier League goal to his name, yet his performances against Manchester City and Chelsea--two of the best teams in the country have been magnificent. Do these recent performances mean that he's finally starting to show the real promise Steve Bruce saw in him in 2011? Do these performances mean Wickham may well progress to be a full international?
There is no doubt in my mind that Wickham is a talented young player. Despite being around for what seems like a while, many forget that he's only just turned 21. It is therefore easy to be critical of his approach to being a professional footballer, forgetting that he's still a young lad.
As a Sunderland fan I've witnessed his progression (or lack of it for two seasons) first-hand. I would certainly concur with Paolo Di Canio's opinion that at this time last year Wickham was more concerned with whey protein and tight t-shirts than being a footballer. Currently, he still appears to fancy himself fit for a place in Geordie Shore, but he's getting the important bit right, actually being a decent footballer.
But what are his attributes? Wickham's investment in whey protein has done more than just boost Maximuscles's share prices, as he's a huge lad, and I mean HUGE! A criticism I've held against Connor is that for too long he hasn't used his physicality effectively. However, the last few weeks have been very different. He looks to have a real hunger in his game, a desire to bully established figures like Kompany and Terry, which is refreshing to see.
There is no doubt that if Wickham wants to play for England as a full international he must continue in this vein. I look at someone like Andy Carroll, who is arguably not the most technically gifted footballer, but he really enjoys bullying people. He earned his first England call-up by taking the Premier League by storm, and attacking any defender regardless of their reputation with the attitude that, come hell or high water he will win that header. If Wickham adopts this type of hunger (which he seems to be finding in his game) I find it unlikely that many defenders in the world would want to face him.
As I've mentioned above, he's still a young lad with a lot to give. After enjoying a successful loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday, he's now starting to look like he's found his feet in the Premier League and bridged the gap from the Championship. Although he is not blessed with electric pace or lightning fast feet, he does look as though he's working out where good strikers lurk to score easy goals, as his first goal v Man City and first v Chelsea prove. His second v Man City also shows he can hit a good ball, whilst finishing from a tight angle.
Wickham's recent form is promising, and will hopefully spark his potential. If he keeps working on being a successful target man, whilst scoring goals, I am sure that in the future he'll be knocking on the England door.