Sunderland young guns get chance to impress at intense Austria training camp
Sunderland fly to Austria today for the start of their pre-season training camp, with several young guns involved in the trip.
But there are major doubts over whether unwanted quintet Liam Bridcutt, Will Buckley, Charis Mavrias, Jordi Gomez and Adam Matthews will travel to the Continent after they have been training away from the first-team squad this week.
Sam Allardyce takes his players to the Alps for an intense nine-day behind-closed-doors training camp, where the Black Cats boss will begin to put the building blocks in place for the new season.
Allardyce – who has overseen training at the Academy of Light this week despite speculation over the England job – will not be accompanied by any fresh faces on the journey from Newcastle airport, with Sunderland yet to make inroads into the transfer market this summer.
But homegrown products Rees Greenwood, Tommy Robson, George Honeyman, Tom Beadling, Josh Robson, Ethan Robson and Josh Maja are all expected to fly out.
Allardyce has been pro-active in promoting Sunderland’s youngsters since taking charge at the Stadium of Light, with Jordan Pickford and Duncan Watmore becoming regulars in the first-team squad, while Greenwood, Tommy Robson and Honeyman were handed their Premier League debuts on the final day of last season.
Striker Maja has also caught Allardyce’s eye, with the 17-year-old handed his first professional contract over the summer.
However, the five players considered surplus to requirements by Sunderland are not expected to travel to Austria after it has been made quite clear that they have no future at the club.
While the quintet have been at the Academy of Light this week, none were involved with the first-team squad at training yesterday.
Sunderland have already moved on one unwanted player after Santiago Vergini’s £1.5million move to Boca Juniors, with Emanuele Giaccherini and Gomez expected to be next out the door.
Meanwhile, trialist Charles N’Zogbia continued to train with Sunderland yesterday and could be involved in Austria.
N’Zogbia was released by relegated Aston Villa during the summer after making just two appearances for the Premier League’s basement boys last season.
But he is the latest of several free agents who have trained with Sunderland during Allardyce’s tenure, including Nigerian frontman Chinedu Obasi and ex-Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboue.