Sunderland youngster eager to take first team opportunity and impress Jack Ross
Elliot Embleton is eager to impress Jack Ross in pre-season and push for a first team place.
Embleton is one of five youngsters travelling to Portugal for a pre-season training camp, with Ross' squad still in a state of flux.
Luke Molyneux, who impressed in a 3-0 win on the final day of last season, was due to travel but has picked up an injury in training.
While Sunderland are relatively well stocked in central midfield, there are doubts over the futures of George Honeyman, Lee Cattermole and Didier Ndong.
Jack Rodwell is also on the brink of leaving the club.
Embleton, an international at youth level, made his debut at Wolves last season and is hoping for more opportunities in the League One campaign.
He told safc.com: “Last season I wanted to play more for the first team.
“When I look at what Joel [Asoro] and Josh [Maja] achieved last season, I wasn’t frustrated because they are my mates and I want them to do well but I do feel as though I could’ve inputted myself and played more minutes than I did.
“It was a great moment last season to make my first-team debut, but I now want more. I want to show what I can do because it was a little frustrating.
“I see there is an opportunity going forward now. Sunderland is my team, it’s where I am from, and I want to play for the first team.
“I’ve come up through the academy, through each age group, and now it would mean so much to help rebuild this club.
“I used to watch Sunderland play in the Premier League and I want to be part of the team that helps get the club back there.
“It would mean so much to me if I could help do that," he added.
“I want to play here, and I want to get the chance to impress the new manager.
“We need to react to where we are.
"Things happen but that doesn’t mean things can’t change, we just need to react, do things right and then I’m sure we will get back to where we belong.”
Manager Jack Ross said there was an opportunity for the youngsters to put themselves in contention.
He said: “Denver, Bali, Andrew and Elliot will come to Portugal with us, and obviously so will Ethan but he’s pretty much in the first-team squad.
“Sometimes in football its ability and character you need, but sometimes there’s things that can fall in your favour due to circumstance and timing."
“I’ve been there and seen that with younger players at my previous clubs.
“They’ve got an opportunity through circumstance and graft, and for these guys now there is an opportunity for them as they can probably see where we are numbers-wise.
“There’s different ages [across the young lads] of course – Bali is just 16 – so particularly for him it’s an unbelievable experience for him at that age, but he is a mature lad to be fair.
“There is a duty of care aspect to it as well, but equally he’s only involved because we think he’s a good player.
“He is a kid and he’s got a long way to go in terms of his development, but it’s a brilliant experience for him to get under his belt.”