Exciting Sunderland teenager vows to remain grounded as he reveals what motivates him

It has been quite the week for promising Sunderland teenager Benjamin Kimpioka.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 15 October, 2018, 14:25

The 18-year-old scored his first Sunderland goal on his full debut in the Checkatrade Trophy win over Carlisle United before scoring for Sweden U18s in the second game of their double header against Romania.

The exciting teenager is determined not to get carried away though and has vowed to continue working hard in a bid to get more first team opportunities at the Stadium of Light.

Benji Kimpioka celebrates his goal against Carlisle United

Kimpioka said: "Many often have high hopes about themselves and their club, I like to focus more on the moment, what I can do now to get new chances. I can always work harder than my teammate does.

“Always have your feet on the ground and not float away on clouds just because you’ve done well in a few games. It’s not enough, you have to be consistent to earn your place.

“Many want to live for football and it is clear that I want it too. But I focus on working hard and always being the best I can be. Then we’ll see where it takes me.

“It’s easy to say that you want to live for football, but it’s important to do that too. I do not want to betray myself but always try to be my best I’ll see where God takes me. I’m grateful about where I am now.

“It was fun to get my debut. I’m grateful for the confidence I get from the coach. Scoring a goal in the cup was a big bonus and something that motivates me to work even harder to get more chances."

The promising teenager only has to look to nine-goal top scorer Josh Maja to see that manager Jack Ross isn't afraid to give youth a chance this season.

With Charlie Wyke out until Christmas and Duncan Watmore still some way off a first team recall, the opportunity is there for Kimpioka & Co.

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He added: "It’s a big difference to get to work out and play first team football with professional players who live with football full time. It’s also a lot more pressure, which I love to play with.

"It’s a dream to do it at this age. I’m grateful for it while I want more. That motivates me.

"It’s a difference to play an under-23 match with maybe 1,000 people compared to playing with the first team and it’s 30,000 who are watching and judging you.

"The demands are much higher from your teammates as well. I like it because then you get the best of yourself all the time."

Sunderland suffered successive relegations to leave the Black Cats in the third tier for only the second time in the club's history.

Kimpioka wasn't part of the first team picture in recent years given his tender years but he is keen to help bring the good times back to Wearside.

He added: "It did not affect us youth players so much. Then I played in the under-18 team and we were still in our Premier League. But the aura around the club was not the same.

"It was a tough period where many were kicked. The fans were not happy that the club went down two years in a row, but now there is a big change going on and we have a great chance to come back.

"The goal is to get up. Sunderland has always been a big club and played in the highest leagues in England. We are trying to get back there.

"First to the Championship and then to the Premier League. It’s a tough task, but we’re ready for it," he told the Swedish FA website.