Jermain Defoe's message for Sunderland youngster after he scoops award
Sunderland hero Jermain Defoe has tweeted his congratulations after Josh Maja scooped the EFL young player of the month award.
Maja won the award previously held by the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Dele Alli after scoring in Sunderland's first four league games of the season.
Defoe has kept a keen eye on his progress since leaving the Black Cats for Bournemouth following the club's relegation from the Premier League.
Defoe tweeted: "Love that! Keep doing your thing."
The Sunderland hero has been a long-term admirer of Maja's talents, and opened up on his support for the 19-year-old after he netted his first senior goal against Fulham last year.
Speaking about Maja and fellow youngster Joel Asoro, who has since moved to Swansea City, Defoe said: "I remember playing with them both for the first time when we went to France for pre-season.
“They really impressed me and I thought they are going to be the future of the club, so I wanted them to go on and do big things and hopefully any advice I gave them helped.
"Josh is a quick thinker and if you’re that fast upstairs you don’t need anything else.
“When he trained with the first team he showed such great awareness – he knew when to pass it, had a great touch – and although he’s not got electric pace, he’s two steps ahead of everyone which means he’s got an immediate advantage.
“Just look at Pirlo, has anyone ever seen him sprint? No, but he doesn’t lose the ball.
“The gift Josh has is rare and if he builds on it, the sky’s the limit.”