How ex-Manchester United and Everton youth players fared for Sunderland U21s against Aston Villa

Sunderland Under-21s were beaten 4-0 by Aston Villa at Eppleton CW – and there were a few new faces in the Black Cats’ starting XI.

Two early goals from Villa winger Declan Frith meant the young Black Cats were always up against it in the Premier League 2, Division 2, clash, while forward Brad Young also grabbed a brace either side of half-time.

Sunderland are still looking to appoint a permanent under-21s boss, with under-18s lead coach John Hewitson coaching the side on an interim basis.

Hewitson handed starts to new signings Callum Wilson and Max Thompson against Villa, while trialist Ben Woods was also named in the starting XI.

Academy of Light.

Here’s how the three players fared:

Callum Wilson

A 18-year-old defender made two appearances for Shrewsbury in the Papa John’s Trophy last season.

Wilson started at right-back against Villa and was one of Sunderland’s better performers in the first half.


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A clipped pass forward led to the Black Cats’ best chance of the opening 45 minutes, as Ethan Kachosa hit the post from inside the box.

There were understandably a few loose passes as Villa pressed high up the pitch from the off.

Wilson was then forced off after taking a knock midway through the second half.

Ben Woods


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Sunderland’s trialist who came through the youth set-up at Manchester United before moving to Burnley, where his contract expired this summer.

Woods, 19, was deployed in front of Sunderlands defence and produced some aggressive challenges as Villa created overloads in the middle of the pitch.

The visitors were regularly allowed to progress into the final third, though, with gaps appearing in the Sunderland team.

Max Thompson


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Another player who was in the youth set-up at Manchester United, before representing Everton at under-18s level and then signing for Burnley.

The 20-year-old made one senior appearance for the Clarets in the Premier League in 2020 but was a regular starter in their under-23s side last season.

Thompson led the line against Villa but had little to feed off, which led to a few frustrated challenges and a yellow card.

The forward was replaced in the closing stages by Ben Middlemas.