Oxford United manager Liam Manning has explained the reasons behind Leeds United loanee Sonny Perkins’ lack of game time this season.

Oxford United manager Liam Manning has provided insights into why Leeds United loanee Sonny Perkins hasn’t seen much action this season. Manning, in an interview with the Oxford Mail, discussed Perkins’ current situation after a challenging start to his season-long loan spell from Leeds.

Due to limited opportunities at Leeds this season, Perkins was sent on loan to Oxford to further his development and gain regular experience in senior football. Perkins had previously moved from West Ham United to Leeds in the summer of 2022 and demonstrated his abilities in Premier League 2 with a series of goals.

He was considered a promising prospect at Leeds and had even made a few senior appearances, scoring his first professional goal in an FA Cup match against Cardiff City in January.

However, Perkins’ time at Oxford has not unfolded as planned. He has been absent from the last five League One matchday squads and has only played for three minutes.

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Manning, speaking before their upcoming match against Wigan Athletic, expressed his desire to see more from Perkins in training, with some signs of improvement. He mentioned, “Sonny arrived late, which made it challenging because the team had already gained momentum and was performing well. Those who have already contributed tend to receive some recognition, so it’s a matter of patience and demonstrating your abilities in training.”

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Manning added, “To stand out and earn playing time, you need to consistently perform at a high level in training. Sonny is making progress in these areas. He’ll still have a role to play; it’s just a matter of when.”

He emphasized the importance of Perkins maintaining a strong work ethic and mentioned that they brought him in because they recognized his potential. The goal is for Perkins to consistently perform at a high level in training, so he’s ready to seize opportunities when they arise due to a drop in performance or injuries.

Despite the lack of playing time, this experience is a valuable learning curve for Perkins, helping him understand the demands of senior football after moving down a division from a club like Leeds. If Perkins can meet Manning’s expectations in training, there’s no doubt that he possesses the potential to earn more playing time.

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