Sunderland midfielder Dan Neil has taken League One by storm this season. The 19-year-old has established himself as a regular starter in Lee Johnson’s first team, rewarding his head coach with a series of excellent displays. Big things are expected from the youngster in the coming years and following the signing of a new four-year deal, fans are hoping he is a part of a team that can get their club back where they belong amongst England’s elite.
Sunderland Midfielder Dan Neil Has a Bright Future
Established First Teamer
Prior to this season, Neil had appeared in just two league games for the Black Cats. A knee injury threatened his career but now, having fought back following almost two years out, he is an established first-team player. He is now living the dream of his fellow Sunderland supporters, featuring in 25 games in all competitions so far this campaign. A regular fixture in the centre of midfield, Neil has been one of Sunderland’s most consistent performers whether it being in an unfamiliar left-back role or instigating attacks and tracking back from the centre of midfield.
Assist Leader and Pass Master
Neil’s calmness on the ball and his eye for a pass has delighted fans and staff alike. It’s these attributes that have seen him top Sunderland’s assist chart. Neil is also joint second in the League One assist table. A pass from the midfielder rarely goes astray with his 82.1% passing accuracy being one of the best in the division.
Part of the U15 England set up before a serious knee injury halted his progress, Neil was back playing for the Three Lions in November. Called up for the England U20 squad, he played 74 minutes before being substituted in a 2-0 defeat to Portugal.
Despite the defeat, it was a proud day for the youngster, his family and everyone at Sunderland. England U20’s next play in March 2022 and should the midfielder, who is fast becoming a key player for the Black Cats, continue his impressive form, another call-up is likely.
Lee Johnson Compares Dan Neil to Former England International
Following Neil’s willingness to commit his long-term future to the club when signing a new four-year deal, manager Lee Johnson was full of praise for the 19-year-old, he said: “He’s technically a very good player. You see the way he manipulates the ball, and I think he’s added another dimension to his game, to be able to drop and drive, and receive the ball and commit players.
“He’s got that lovely dribbling technique – a little bit like a young Paul Gascoigne almost in the way he pops and drags it at the same time. As a defender, it’s very difficult to commit because the minute you do, he’s got the ability to skip by you.
“I do expect to see a couple of slalom-type goals from him this season.”
Dan Neil Wants to Help Sunderland Get Back Where They Belong
Sunderland and their fans have suffered more than most in recent years. Successive relegations saw the Black Cats drop from the Premier League to League One. They are now in their fourth consecutive season in England’s third tier having only been there for one season previously throughout their long history.
Dan Neil is one of those supporters who watched his club suffer. He now has a chance to put things right by helping the club get back to where they belong. After signing his new contract, he said: “Everyone knows that I love this football club and I love playing for it.
“It’s a dream come true to be playing in the first team and I’m loving every minute of it, but I want more and I want to be playing in the higher divisions for Sunderland. I want to be part of getting this club back to where it belongs and there’s nowhere I would rather be, so I’m delighted to have extended my contract.”
Embed from Getty Images