WHEN a team is struggling for results and the players are under-performing, it’s never good at any club, except for one group – the youngsters.
Every player at Sunderland turning out for the Under-18s or 21s, should only have one goal and that’s to one day claim a first-team shirt and make it their own.
The youth players should be seriously thinking about knocking on Gus Poyet’s door to stake their case.
So the current problems at Sunderland should be viewed as an opportunity for any young player with belief in himself and ambition.
Football’s a ruthless business and if a youngster is to be given a chance, it’s usually because players above him are out of form or injured.
When I got my chance to get a regular place in the first XI, it was only because the team was losing and the manager decided to make changes.
If the team had been winning every week, that opportunity may never have arisen, so you need to grab it when it comes.
That’s why the youth players should be seriously thinking about knocking on Gus Poyet’s door to stake their case.
Managers like young players with attitude and confidence, and if given a chance, they can be fearless in pressured situations.
I get great pleasure in seeing young local lads make it through the ranks into the first-team and I’d love to think there’s a couple of 18 or 19-year-olds at the academy desperate to wear a red and white shirt, and with the ability to make Poyet sit up and take notice.