JOBE Bellingham’s performance for Sunderland in the 2-0 victory at Cardiff City on Good Friday is further proof, if it were needed, that he’s the best option the Black Cats have as a centre forward for the rest of this season.

Capping a superb display with a well-deserved goal – his seventh of the campaign – Jobe was everything that Sunderland needed in that number nine role.

Yes, it was against a Bluebirds side that had seemingly downed tools for the Bank Holiday weekend, but as the old cliché goes, you can only play what’s in front of you. We needed this after the run we’ve been on.

READ MORE: Is Jobe Bellingham Sunderland's striker in waiting

One person that agrees on Jobe’s quality is former Black Cats striker Lee Howey, who joined us at Wise Men Say during the week for our first WMS Social event. Billed as a live show/podcast hybrid, the Wise Men Say Social is an informal, free event where you can come along to These Things Happen in Sunderland, listen to the podcast being recorded, ask a few questions yourself if you like, and have a few beers.

Lee joined us for the first event ahead of the Cardiff game, and was talking up Jobe’s talents – but warning that his current role is not a permanent fix for Sunderland.

He said: “I like Jobe. I like his physicality. He’s a young man, and the more games he plays the better he will become. He has that natural instinct. When he first came to the club I thought he was outstanding, but he tapered off a bit and he’s been coming in at a 6 or a 7 out of 10 generally.

“But there’s a goal in him, and some good goals as well. He’ll get in the box, he’ll get a head on things. To take him out of the team would make us weaker.”

Lee, who is still involved with the club on matchdays and contributes to co-commentary duties on SAFC TV, warned that Sunderland can’t permanently pin their hopes on Jobe in that number nine role.

He said: “He’s doing a job. To play centre forward you have to have done it most of your life. You’re playing with your back to goal nearly all the time, you’re playing with two or three big horrible centre-halves all over you. It is difficult to play there. And it’s not his game, and he’s never been there. He’s just doing a job.

“I used to know that my job as a centre forward was to jump up and flick it on, or get it on my chest and bring it back to the midfield and then get into the box, it’s as simple as that. That is your job.

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“But as a midfield player Jobe will try and get them on the back foot, try to turn. He’s not a centre-forward but a midfield player doing a job. Because we’re so inept at the top of the field, he looks better than everybody else.”

The very fact that we find ourselves relying on an 18-year-old central midfielder as our main striker sums up the season and shows how important it is for us to find a permanent solution in the summer to a problem we’ve had for 18 months.

Whether that happens, of course, is anybody’s guess.