DUNCAN WATMORE has a “great opportunity” to continue his development north of the border at Hibernian, according to Gus Poyet.
The Sunderland youngster yesterday joined Hibs on loan until the end of the season after the SPL outfit beat off competition from EIGHT Football League clubs who were all looking to sign the 19-year-old.
Watmore has made a big impression for Sunderland Under-21s since arriving from non-league Altrincham during the summer and was handed his first-team bow in the FA Cup third round victory over Carlisle.
Ex-Sunderland boss and current Hibs manager Terry Butcher made a personal check on Watmore in the U21s’ 1-1 draw with Stoke City last month and opted to make a move for the winger.
And Sunderland boss Poyet believes the chance to play in front of big crowds in the SPL will be more beneficial to Watmore than plying his trade in Leagues One or Two.
Poyet told the Echo: “It’s a great opportunity for Duncan Watmore to go to Hibernian.
“He’s impressed me because of where he’s come from and where he’s playing.
“To have an opportunity to go to Hibernian is massive and we couldn’t let it pass.
“We couldn’t really promise any opportunities for sure here in the first-team.
“There were a few clubs in England who wanted him and they were easy options because we could have recalled him.
“But after talking to Terry, I think it was a unique opportunity for him - to go from where he was one year ago to play proper football.
“There’s pressure and exposure up there with the television. Even in one game against Celtic it’s going to be amazing.”
Watmore was one of two Sunderland youngsters to move to Scotland, with £1.5million summer signing David Moberg-Karlsson joining Kilmarnock on loan until the end of the season.
Moberg-Karlsson, who was also a target for Dundee, hadn’t appeared for Sunderland’s first-team since August’s Capital One Cup victory over MK Dons.
And Poyet has hinted that the 19-year-old could leave Sunderland on a permanent basis at the end of the season.
“He has gone to Kilmarnock,” added the head coach.
“The boy was finding it difficult I think. He’s going to find a new opportunity there and then who knows?”