If there is something positive that came out of the lack of numbers and numerous injuries Sunderland have had in pre-season and the early games, it is that some of the youngsters gained experience they normally wouldn’t.
Jordan Pickford and Duncan Watmore have been around the first team for a little while, but there is another group following them led by Lynden Gooch that hopefully can prove themselves capable of being Premier League footballers.
Against Shrewsbury Town, the Sunderland bench seemed to be full of kids that last season were turning out for the Under-21s.
And if just one or two of them can go on and emulate Jordan Henderson they can make the club a fortune – although if they are as good as Henderson, then I’d prefer them to stay.
I like nothing better than seeing young players coming through and establishing themselves.
It is a journey I have been on and I know how exciting but difficult it can be.
Some of the happiest memories of my career came in my youth team days, playing the likes of Newcastle and Middlesbrough and dreaming of some day doing it for real in front of packed crowds.
There will be setbacks and disappointments along the way, but for any youngster with stars in his eyes, pulling on a Sunderland shirt for the first team is special and worth all the sacrifices.