LOUIS Laing says Sunderland young guns have their eyes set on tomorrow’s game against Groningen as an opportunity to shine in front of Martin O’Neill.
The Black Cats boss put out an experienced side against Seongnam on Thursday and the younger members of the squad are hoping they will get more of a chance tomorrow.
“Hopefully,” said the young defender. “After all, that’s what it’s all about on a pre-season trip – the chance to play.
“The travel has been a good experience and training with so many first-team members. But as a young lad, you’re just hoping to play in the games and do well.”
Laing is rated among Sunderland’s brightest young prospects and the centre-half would have had more of a sniff of first-team action had he been at a lesser club.
But he appreciates that it is never going to be easy at Sunderland, where top-quality Premier League performances are now required.
Not easy either that he is vying for selection in one of the best served areas of the squad.
Last season he was competing against top quality centre-halves Michael Turner, John O’Shea, Titus Bramble, Wes Brown and Matt Kilgallon.
“And they’ve just bought another one – Carlos Cuellar,” he grinned.
But he is up for the challenge and wants to start rising to it tomorrow night.
He said: “Getting called up for the tour has been a great boost for the younger lads. We’ve got the opportunity because half-a-dozen international lads were rested and we want to make the most of it.
“Training has been great for us but everyone wants to be involved in the game.”