JAY Matete joined Oxford United late on deadline day, arriving from Sunderland on loan until the end of the season.

We spoke to Sunderland Echo football reporter Phil Smith to find out more about the 23-year-old midfielder.

READ AGAIN: Jay Matete set to add ‘different dimension’ to Oxford United midfield

What are Matete’s main qualities and strengths?

Matete is a very dynamic midfielder. He’s a good dribbler who can carry the ball deep into the opposition half, and his athleticism means he can also be very good at pressing the opposition. As such he tends to pick up quite a few yellow cards but that works the other way, too, as he often wins fouls and opens up the game in dangerous areas of the pitch.

If you think back to Elliot Embleton’ very late winner at the Kassam Stadium a couple of years back, that move started with Matete carrying the ball from just inside the Oxford half right to the edge of the penalty area. That’s Matete at his best, I would say.

What player would you compare him most to?

It’s quite hard to answer that as I’d say Matete is still really defining what his best role and position is on the pitch. He can definitely play as a defensive midfielder, but does that then detract from the attacking qualities he has? Is he going to be a box-to-box midfielder, or a really attacking eight? I think both player and club are still in the process of really working that out.

If not for his injury in pre-season, do you think he might’ve been involved for Sunderland this year?

He was making a really good impression on the coaching staff so there would definitely have been opportunities for him. I don’t think he would have been ahead of Dan Neil, Pierre Ekwah and Jobe Bellingham initially, but there would definitely have been chances for him to impress, whether it was from the bench or when the side was rotated.

I was a little surprised that he didn’t get a chance in the last few weeks when he returned to fitness, though I suppose it’s not easy to put a player who has been on the sidelines for a good while straight back into Championship action.

After successive promotions from League One, what do you think he needs to do, to make the transition to being a Championship player?

I think he showed at Plymouth last season that he was ready for a shot, at least. He's just been really unlucky with injury and a loan makes sense for everyone, whether it’s so he can have another crack on Wearside in pre-season or to put him in the best position possible if he is to move on.