JACK Colback predicts that he and Jordan Henderson are only the advance guard of a stream of young talent who could carve out Premier League futures at Sunderland over the next few years.
Colback made his fifth Premier League start in last weekend’s game against Wolves and has done so well over the last few weeks that manager Steve Bruce has said he is assured of a place in the Black Cats’ Premier League squad next season.
England cap Henderson is already one of the hottest properties in the Premier League.
But Colback reckons that there could be plenty more to come after seeing teenagers Ryan Noble, Craig Lynch and Louis Laing all get run-outs against Wolves.
Other Academy prospects who have tasted first-team action, or been included in the squad, this season are Jordan Cook, Billy Knott, Blair Adams and Adam Reed.
“Fans always like to see local lads come through,” said 21-year-old Colback. “And we’ve got a few in there now.
“It’s good for me to be finally playing for the first team because I’ve been here since I was 10 and that’s what football’s all about, getting young players through the academy.
“We should start seeing a few more coming through, I think.
“Quite a few have gone from the core group that I was part of – that’s been broken up quite a bit – but there’s a new generation coming through.
“Congratulations to Louis for making his debut and Lynchy got his the other week. It’s great to see younger lads getting the chance.
“The manager’s proved in Jordan and David Meyler he will give the young ’uns a chance – unfortunately it’s because of injuries this season, but that’s been the one good thing for us.”
Chairman Niall Quinn is hoping that the bonds between club and fans could be strengthened by more local talent being unrolled in the seasons ahead and manager Steve Bruce has already spoken about his gratitude for the youth set-up he found when he first arrived at the club.
“The academy does fantastically well here,” said the manager. “To have two young local lads playing in the team, that doesn’t happen often in the Premier League these days, so they can take a big pat on the back.
“Ged (McNamee) and his staff work extremely hard. Ryan Noble, Billy Knott, young Craig Lynch, Louis Laing, they have all got the potential to have good careers.
“I hope they continue to improve.”
Most of the youngsters will be set to go out on loan over the next season or two and Colback – who credits his own loan spells at Ipswich as the making of him – says that’s no bad thing.
Colback believes that his loan spells at Portman Road helped him prosper in somewhat difficult circumstances.
“The manager’s shown a lot of faith to put me in at this time of the season when points mean everything.
“I experienced quite a bit of that at Ipswich – they were down the table quite a while and you feel the pressure.
“But I think that helped me.
“I came back with great experience, just from playing in front of bigger crowds and in competitive football week in, week out.
“If I’d come into the first team earlier I might have struggled a bit more. The loan moves helped massively.”