One of the standout performers for the youth team last season was Elliot Embleton, and he believes his progress will continue during the 2016-17 campaign.
The youngster will be full of confidence after he made his first-team debut against Borussia Dortmund.
Earlier this year Embleton made the step up to under-21 level after a great year in the under-18s. However, he was called up by David Moyes for the Black Cats' final pre-season game of the summer in Austria.
Big step up to the big time
It was a trip to remember for Embleton where he unexpectedly replaced Fabio Borini with just over five minutes remaining, and speaking after with the club’s official website he said his first appearance for the Black Cats against Dortmund would have been unimaginable a few months ago.
“A few months ago if you told me I’d be playing against these players I would have told you to shut up,” beamed Embleton.
To play with Sunderland against some “world-class” footballers, some of whom “play for their countries” and have the ability to win the “biggest trophies” in top competitions, was something called "a chance of a lifetime".
The “hard work” from a young age has finally paid off. Making his debut meant that he has been noticed by the top man in Sunderland, and to play against Dortmund allowed him to show the manager his ability.
But the hard work doesn’t just suddenly stop, but it shouldn’t be too much of leap to make since the youngster has been with the academy since he was eight and has yet to “miss a session".
With the knowledge gained on how to continue to make strides and progress, as well as earn another “chance” to train and play with the Lads. there is “nothing better” than playing for the “first team”.
He concluded: “I have to use this experience as an incentive and become a better player.”