Luke Molyneux says it was a ‘dream come true’ to make his debut at the Stadium of Light.
Molyneux has been at the club since the age of 14 and after impressing in the U23s this season, was given a chance to start in the 3-0 win over Wolves.
The 20-year-old notched an assist for the opening goal and described his afternoon as ‘incredible’.
He said: “It was a dream come true for me really. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been brought up to be a Sunderland supporter, so to get the chance to play for the club at the Stadium of Light was incredible.
“My grandad’s a season-ticket holder – he has been for years – and it makes him proud to see me out there.
“All my family came and sat together behind the goal, but my grandad said he didn’t want to move because he wanted to stay where his season ticket is. I noticed him at the side of the pitch.
“I made sure I got my shirt all signed by the rest of the lads. I’ll be keeping that one.
“I feel like I’ve had a decent season. I scored quite a lot of goals for the Under-23s, although the injury obviously took out a large part of my season. To come back and get the goals was great, and then to make my debut at this late a stage was incredible really.”
Molyneux was set to start the game on the bench but was thrown into action when Kazenga LuaLua suffered an injury.
The forward feels that might have played into his hands.
He said: “It was literally five minutes before kick-off when I was told. Kaz got injured, and I was told it would be me who was stepping up. I didn’t really have chance to think about it or get my head around it, I just needed to get on with it.
“To be honest, that was probably a good thing. You don’t really think about it or dwell on it, you just know that you need to get on with it and get your head right.”
Raised in Bishop Auckland, Molyneux had special praise for the Sunderland support, who created a superb atmosphere despite the team’s struggles this season.
He said: “It’s crazy really. When the fans are like that, it’s amazing. Living up here with loads of fans who are family and friends, I obviously know what everyone has been going through. But when they’re like that, they give you a massive boost. No matter how you’re playing, they always help you get through the game.”