DICK ADVOCAAT says he would be open to blooding Sunderland’s young guns, if the Black Cats were nestled in mid-table safety, like today’s opponents Everton.
Sunderland boss Advocaat surprised many supporters last week when he declared that top prospect Duncan Watmore was not ready for first-team involvement, despite his recent form for the Under-21s.
It’s not that I don’t like young players, but now I need the experience of players who have done it beforeDick Advocaat
Advocaat believes Watmore would struggle to handle the pressure of the relegation scrap, and says that applies to the other hopefuls in the U21 squad.
However, if Sunderland were free from the threat of the drop, the head coach insists the door would be open to giving the club’s promising youngsters an opportunity.
“It’s not that I don’t like young players, but now I need the experience of players who have done it before,” said Advocaat.
“I cannot turn to Duncan, Tommy (Beadling) or the goalkeeper (Jordan Pickford).
“It’s not like Everton, who have the possibility to do that.
“We are not in the position, which is why we don’t want to take any risks.”
Watmore continues to find the net at U21 level, with the 21-year-old netting his fifth goal in as many games in the victory over Everton earlier this week.
That saw Watmore crowned as the U21 Premier League player of the month yesterday, with the ex-Altrincham winger admitting his eagerness to break into the first-team picture at Sunderland.
“Next year I want to break into the first team,” said Watmore, whose only senior appearance for Sunderland came in last season’s FA Cup third-round win over Carlisle.
“It’s a great club here, so that’s my ideal plan.
“When you play at that standard you improve as a player naturally.
“It’s very beneficial.
“Intensity, tempo – the pace of the game is a lot quicker, a lot sharper. For example, say you have a couple of seconds in U21s, you might only have half a second in the first team.”