Sunderland academy manager Ged McNamee has praised young starlets Duncan Watmore and Jordan Pickford after they earned call ups to the England under-21 squad.
Both players featured as England beat Portugal 1-0 in the Toulon tournament last week. Watmore also played on Monday, as England eased past Guinea under-23s.
McNamee spoke to Safc.com, the manager hailed the pair and said the achievement was a 'great advertisement' for the academy. This comes after a season in which many of Sunderland's young players have made their first team debuts.
McNamee had high praise for Watmore in particular. He spoke of the great 'character' that the 22-year-old possesses and said he was 'still young' as far as the Premier League goes.
The manager also mentioned the 'immense distribution' that Pickford has.
First team outings this season
Watmore and Pickford both played for the first team this year and were well recieved by fans. Watmore missed parts of the season with injury but both before and after he was sidelined, he was one of the stand out players for Sam Allardyce's side.
Pickford made a few first team outings in January, and although he conceded more than one goal in each of his appearances, he made some important saves and showed promise for the future.
The international experience will help both players further their development and it would not be a surprise if the two youngsters featured more frequently in the coming season.
Other future stars
As mentioned, other youth players have made their first team bow this year. Other players which may be set to follow in Watmore and Pickford's footsteps in the near future include: Rees Greenwood, who is 20, and George Honeyman, who is 21.
Both players featured in Sunderland's final game of the season and Allardyce was impressed with how they got on, in what would have been a nervy day for them.