Lee Johnson's message which has provided encouragement for Ellis Taylor and Sunderland's academy prospects

Sunderland winger Ellis Taylor admits it’s been a big step up training with the first team but says he’s growing in confidence each week.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 4:45 pm

The 18-year-old is rated highly at the Academy of Light and made his senior debut for the Black Cats in a Carabao Cup win over Port Vale in August.

Taylor has also started both of Sunderland’s games in the Papa John’s Trophy this season, and assisted Stephen Wearne’s winner against Manchester United Under-21s at the Stadium of Light.

"The game was unbelievable and I was buzzing,” Taylor told Sunderland’s website after the match. “In front of the fans, a few of the young lads on the bench getting their debuts, it was class.

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Ellis Taylor playing for Sunderland against Manchester United Under-21s in the Papa John's Trophy.

“I thought we deserved it really, we were under a bit of pressure at the end but I thought we rode the storm quite well so I’m buzzing.”

It wasn’t Taylor’s first experience playing for the senior side at the Stadium of Light, as the teenager was part of first-team training during pre-season and featured in a friendly win over Hull.

Black Cats boss Lee Johnson has highlighted Taylor’s ability and potential, and the winger hopes he can repay the head coach’s faith.

“It’s a big step up and when I first went up obviously I was nervous, but now I’m in and around it,” Taylor added.

“I love training everyday and I’m getting more and more confident as the weeks go on.

“With the gaffer helping me, he likes me so I just need to prove to him what I can do.

“Hopefully I can keep on impressing and keep on getting in the side, getting on the bench and hopefully my league debut comes soon.”

Taylor was also pleased to see seven Sunderland players earn their senior debuts against United’s under-21 side, including Zac Johnson and Caden Kelly.

When asked about Johnson’s willingness to give youth a chance, Taylor replied: “I think that’s one of the things he said when he first came in that he was going to give chances out.

“To see the likes of Zac and Caden get on, Zac a first year scholar is unbelievable.

“I’m delighted for them, Caden is one of my close mates in the club so I’m delighted for him.”

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