The 28-year-old defensive midfielder featured regularly for Sunderland last season and Tony Mowbray primarily used O’Nien in a centre-back role.


This season Mowbray has handed O’Nien the captaincy in the absence of Corry Evans and the Englishman has been a key part of Sunderland’s defence this season.




Collins believes that O’Nien has formed a good partnership with Dan Ballard in defence where they compliment each other and pointed out that the 28-year-old might come across as shy but in reality he is good at winding up opposition players.


He also stated that despite his composed nature while in possession of the ball and two good feet, O’Nien is underestimated by the players and Sunderland fanbase.



“I know obviously people have questioned him about playing at the back”, Collins told Sunderland’s media.


“Danny Batth was let go and we have brought in two young centre-backs who are sitting on the bench behind Luke.



“But the partnership he has with Dan Ballard, they look excellent together and compliment each other a little bit.


“Luke can look after himself as well; he is not the biggest, but he is a little bit naughty.


“He comes across as the choir boy, but he has that little naughty side to wind the opposition players up as well, but with composure on the ball and two good feet, I think he is underestimated by players and maybe by the fans as well.


“I know he works really hard at his game and puts the shift in the training ground, puts the hours in and he is getting his rewards now.”


O’Nein has featured in all ten league games for Sunderland this season and has helped the Black Cats keep four clean sheets while racking up two cautions.