Lynden Gooch on 'brilliant' Bali Mumba and helping guide next generation of Sunderland youngsters
Sunderland's academy has produced a string of first team players in recent seasons, with the next batch keen to make a big impression this season.
Bali Mumba, 16, Luke Molyneux, 20, and 19-year-olds Josh Maja and Elliot Embleton are among the latest group to progress through the category one academy to being in and around the first team squad.
The pathway to a regular first team spot is clear to see and they will take inspiration from the likes of Lynden Gooch and George Honeyman, who was this week given the armband for the 2018-19 campaign at the tender age of 23.
Gooch is just a year younger but is keen to also help guide the club’s younger players as they look to make the next step up over the coming months.
Ross hasn’t been afraid to throw Mumba in at the deep end this pre-season, with Dylan McGeouch struggling, Mumba is in contention for a start this afternoon against Charlton.
Gooch has been impressed with the teenager’s temperament and is happy to help the younger players get to grips with first team football.
“Bali’s been brilliant,” said Gooch, 22.
“He’s really young but he’s been doing really well and he’s keeping his feet on the ground.
“It’s big for the likes of me and George who are a bit older and have come through the academy to keep them on their toes and doing what they should be doing day-in, day-out, like the older players did for us.
“George has the armband as well so it’s up to us to be leaders in the team and look after them.”
Mumba has played a full part in pre-season and never once looked out of his depth.
Jack Ross is reluctant to put too much pressure on such young shoulders but also has shown no intention of playing down the quality with which Mumba is playing, describing his pre-season form as ‘terrific’ earlier this week.
l New Zealand international Sam Brotherton has joined Vanarama National League North side Blyth Spartans on a season-long loan.
The 21-year-old has been a regular for Elliott Dickman’s Under-23 side since joining Sunderland in January 2017.