Sunderland youngster, Lynden Gooch has said that he is looking to repay manager, David Moyes for putting his faith in him.
Never expected it
The young American has been highly-rated at the Academy of Light for some time, and impressed during his short stint with Doncaster Rovers last season.
Gooch played well throughout pre-season, and was rewarded by Moyes with his Premier League debut in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City.
The 20-year-old impressed at the Etihad Stadium, and will be looking repay Moyes, if given the nod for the derby with Middlesbrough.
Gooch told the Sunderland Echo: "I found out last Friday I’d be playing against Manchester City, at the end of training – I was shocked, to be honest."
The youngster revealed, "I thought at the most I’d maybe get on the bench, and then the manager read my name out before we did set-pieces and I couldn’t believe it."
Gooch admitted to the local paper: “I wasn’t too nervous, I just wanted to stay calm and play the way I’ve always been playing, the way that got me here."
The American continued: “I think the manager has shown he likes to blood young players, like Jack Rodwell at Everton and Adnan Januzaj at Manchester United."
He added that he is “hoping to follow in those footsteps".
Playing on the big stage
All eyes will be on Wearside on Sunday lunchtime, as the Black Cats welcome their Teesside rivals to the Stadium of Light.
This will be the first time that they have met in the league in seven years, and Gooch admitted that he wants to be part of the side to take on Aitor Karanka's newly-promoted team.
"It’d be fantastic to play, it’s another massive game, massive occasion. It would be amazing, a derby as well," said the 20-year-old.
Gooch concluded: “It would just be a dream come true. We all want to play in these type of games, so it’d be great."
Sunderland AFC will take on Middlesbrough at the Stadium of Light on Sunday, August 21 with kick-off at 1:30pm BST.