Cats Eye: These 7 Sunderland young guns have huge chance to impress David Moyes in France

New Sunderland manager David Moyes greets fans outside Rotherham's New York Stadium ahead of Saturday's 2-1 friendly success for the Black Cats
New Sunderland manager David Moyes greets fans outside Rotherham's New York Stadium ahead of Saturday's 2-1 friendly success for the Black Cats
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With new signings yet to arrive on Wearside, Sunderland’s team picks itself at the moment.

Transfer activity is expected to hot up in the coming days and weeks after the arrival of David Moyes as manager – it certainly needs to.

Sunderland’s Premier League campaign opens at Manchester City in less than three weeks and the first-team squad is threadbare as things stand.

Jan Kirchhoff was again worryingly omitted from the latest friendly at Rotherham United. The German midfielder is yet to play a minute this pre-season.

John O’Shea and Seb Larsson are, though, set to be involved in the games in France this week after their Euro 2016 exploits.

But Sunderland don’t currently have much else in the way of depth, with the bench against Hartlepool United and Rotherham packed with Under-21 players.

The positive for Moyes and his coaching staff, though, is that there is some real talent among the next generation.

And this week on the banks of Lake Geneva has come at just the right time for some of them.

A seven-day training camp is the perfect opportunity for the likes of Jordan Pickford, Josh Robson, Duncan Watmore and Lynden Gooch to showcase their talent.

England Under-21 stars Pickford and Watmore will be well-known to Moyes, of course, given they broke through to the first team squad last season.

But for others, it is a fresh start and chance to make a positive impression on the former Manchester United and Everton boss.

Sunderland are yet to sign a right back – although £5million-rated Micah Richards has been strongly linked with a move from Aston Villa.

Josh Robson started against Rotherham and looked assured down the right-hand flank, even providing an assist for Charles N’Zogbia’s late winner.

It is too soon for a regular run in the side but if he can impress Moyes this week, and in the remaining four friendly games, he could be pushing for a regular spot in the matchday squad this season.

The same goes for Gooch, who recently signed a new three-year deal.

Sunderland are in need of more attack-minded midfielders and the 20-year-old American-born forward could follow in Watmore’s footsteps.

Gooch came on as a second-half sub at the New York Stadium and his keenness to do well caught the eye, playing a part in the winning goal.

Sunderland’s attack looked to have petered out until Gooch and Josh Robson retrieved the ball, with the right-back laying it off to N’Zogbia to score.

Nobody will be getting carried away after a run of the mill pre-season game against Championship opposition.

It is a huge step up from the safety net of the Under-21 league to the top flight, but Pickford and Watmore have led the way and shown it is possible.

Midfielders George Honeyman and Rees Greenwood and left-back Tommy Robson also all made their Premier League debuts in the season finale at Watford, under Sam Allardyce.

The lack of summer signings is currently causing angst and anxiety among Sunderland supporters, yet there is plenty of promise in the next generation.

After the success of the club’s Under-21 side last season, nobody can deny that the potential is there.

And the opportunities are likely to be there too over the coming 10 months, even if it means heading out on loan first.

Pickford has benefited enormously from his loan spells.

This week offers a good opportunity to show the new boss they have what it takes to break through this season.

It is down to them to grasp it.

Follow Sunderland’s friendly against Stade Nyonnais on our live blog from 5.30pm tonight (kick-off at 6.30)