Watch Sunderland striker Duncan Watmore return to action in training ground friendly
Sunderland striker Duncan Watmore played 25 minutes in a training friendly at the Academy of Light earlier today.
The 24-year-old stepped up his recovery from a second ACL injury, which he sustained in a 2-2 draw against Millwall on November 18 last year.
Jack Ross has been cautious with the forward after such a severe injury, but Watmore's latest cameo represents a significant step forward.
Ross revealed last week that Watmore had been in full training for three weeks and he wanted to give the striker some game time.
Watmore's return could be a huge boost for Ross, who has formed a strong bond with the striker in recent months.
The forward spoke to the club's website after the match and said: "Really enjoyed it, this is what all the rehab is for to get back playing games.
"I've had to be very patient, it's been pretty much 12 months since I had the operation and it's all gone really well, with all the advice off the sports scientists and surgeon, you've just got to be extra patient.
"I'm finally in a position now where I can be playing minutes, even through it was an in-house game I felt good which was important."
When asked about how close he is to a first-team return, Watmore said: "Obviously it's not like I'm going to be fit for next week.
"But the more I train, the more I can get these kind of minutes and these kind of experiences, the fitter I'll get and the more confident I'll get with my knee.
"I can't wait to get back playing."
On his recovery process, Watmore added: "Rehab can be a lonely place, you do a lot of the work yourself in the gym when the lads are out training playing games.
"It's great to be back part of it and I can't wait to be playing games soon."