Sunderland Youngsters Looking to Flourish, but More Required

Sunderland have a state-of-the-art academy on Wearside, and now after years of development, players are starting to filter into the first team squad on a more regular basis. Add this with new manager David Moyes signing youngsters he knows well, and the Black Cats have some very good young players that are now looking to make a name for themselves. David Moyes is no stranger to giving youth a chance and this looks like continuing. Here is a look at some of the Sunderland youngsters that are looking to flourish this season.

Sunderland Youngsters

Lynden Gooch

After impressing David Moyes during pre-season, Gooch has played the first two games of the season and has impressed. His energetic performances have had supporters sit up and take notice of this talented American.

After coming to the attention of Sunderland while starring at high-school level in USA, Gooch had a successful trial and signed a permanent deal in 2012. He starred for the Black Cats under-18s and 21s as well as the USA’s under-20 side. He also had a spell on loan at North East neighbours Gateshead. After making his Sunderland debut in the League Cup last season, he went out on loan again, this time to League One side Doncaster Rovers.

After signing a new deal to keep him on Wearside until 2019, the youngster impressed David Moyes so much during pre-season that he was put straight into first team action on the opening day. He has been mainly used on the wing so far but can also play effectively in the centre of the field, as shown last time out against Middlesbrough. With new signings possibly on their way in, Lynden may not play every game; however, he has shown he definitely deserves more chances.

Joel Asoro

This 17-year-old youngster who has been the surprise inclusion in Sunderland’s squad this season, could prove to be very exciting. He has pace, an eye for goal and his direct style has impressed many of late, especially manager David Moyes.

The young Swedish forward, who became the club’s youngest Premier League player ever this season, came to many peoples attention when he impressed during Sunderland’s recent pre-season tour. After signing last year he made his mark at under-18 level with some excellent performances and scoring seven goals in 14 appearances.

Now he has a taste of first team football and with someone like Jermain Defoe to learn from, he will want this experience to last and to make a name for himself whenever he gets the opportunity.

Adnan Januzaj

Although he is just on a season long loan from Manchester United, there are high hopes around Wearside that talented forward Januzaj will be a big player for Sunderland this season.

The Belgian burst onto the scene with some impressive performances and goals while David Moyes was in charge at Old Trafford. Many expected this huge talent to continue to progress, but under Louis van Gaal he became nothing more than a bit-part player at United. He made a fleeting appearance during Sunderland’s first game of the season at Manchester City soon after signing; however, he started the second game against Middlesbrough. Although the team lost, Januzaj showed glimpses of what he is capable of.

Jose Mourinho has stated that he wants Januzaj back at Old Trafford next season. Whether this happens is anyone’s guess, but a good season at Sunderland will either have Jose wanting him back or a string of clubs wanting to sign him. This is definitely a case of “watch this space”.

Duncan Watmore

The young winger, who can also play up front, broke onto the first team scene last season and impressed. His performances also earned him a call-up to the England under-21 side. A side which he is now a regular after some very impressive performances for both club and country.

He signed from Altrincham in the summer of 2012 after catching the Black Cats eye during an impressive first season with the National League North side. Since joining, he has had a spell on loan at Scottish side Hibernian and also picked up the under-21 Premier League Player of the Season. The latter award was picked up despite missing three months with a broken leg.

His list of achievements since last summer is impressive. As well as earning a place in the Sunderland first team, he has been voted in the team of the tournament and voted the revelation at the under 20s Toulon Tournament. He graduated from University with a first in Economics and Business and was part of the England U21 team that won the Toulon Tournament for the first time in over 20 years.

So far this season he has started David Moyes’s first two league games in charge. He will now be looking for this to continue and become a first team regular. If Watmore continues to develop, then Sunderland and England have a very good player on their hands.

Jordan Pickford

Pickford will be looking to push first-choice keeper Vito Mannone for the first team spot this season. Although he has had several successful loan spells away from Sunderland, Pickford came to many people’s attention last season with an impressive loan spell at Preston North End. His displays for England’s under-21s also caught the eye. These performances made the then Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce decide to recall him from loan and cash in on then-number one Costel Pantilimon.

He went onto make his senior FA Cup and Premier League debuts at the beginning of this year. He has also recently signed a contract extension. The young shot stopper has had rave reviews from those within the England set up and they are hoping he can continue to progress. Jordan is now considered Sunderland’s number two keeper, but there is no doubt that he will be looking to takeover the number one spot as soon as possible. If he can continue his impressive development, then the potential is there for him to be the number one for both club and country in the near future.

Plenty of potential

Add these names to the likes of new signings Donald Love and Northern Ireland international Paddy McNair who have plenty of potential but are still settling, there is winger Rees Greenwood, defenders Tom and Josh Robson and also Tom Beadling among others. Sunderland could certainly have some exciting youngsters at their disposal.

With the experienced first team members already at the club and new players on the verge of signing, the potential is there for the Black Cats to have a more successful future than they have had in previous years in the Premier League.

More than potential required

After two defeats in two games and injuries mounting up, the Black Cats need more than potential at present. With just several days of the summer transfer window left, Moyes needs reinforcements, and he needs them quick. The club have stated that they are working hard but due to what seems a limited budget and Moyes saying that a relegation battle is expected, potential targets maybe difficult to persuade. All fans are nervous once again and the next few days could tell us what kind of a season Sunderland are about to have.