Mumba, Greenwood, Hugill and more - what happened to Sunderland’s lost golden generation?

Since dropping into League One four seasons ago, Sunderland’s Academy of Light has witnessed a mass exodus.

Sunday, 18th July 2021, 2:54 pm
Bali Mumba of Norwich City celebrates with the Sky Bet Championship trophy following the Sky Bet Championship match between Barnsley and Norwich City at Oakwell Stadium.

Several talented youngsters have been poached by clubs higher up the football pyramid whilst the North East club languishes in the fourth tier.

Here, we take a look at the Black Cats’ lost ‘golden generation’ – and what the starlets that have departed Wearside are up to now:

Bali Mumba - Norwich City

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Sam Greenwood of Leeds United U21's on the ball during the EFL Trophy match between Blackpool and Leeds United U21 at Bloomfield Road.

The former Sunderland youth teamer appeared sporadically for Norwich City last season but still managed to play his part as the Canaries were promoted to the Premier League.

Indeed, the 19-year-old has just been rewarded for his progress with a new long-term deal at the club.

As it stands, he is expected to remain with the senior squad this coming season, adding cover and competition for established full backs Max Aarons and Dimitris Giannoulis.

Sam Greenwood - Leeds United

The 19-year-old attacker departed Sunderland back in 2018, moving to Premier League giants Arsenal for a reported £500,000 fee.

However, the move to London didn’t suit Greenwood, who opted to move back up north to Leeds United in a deal said to be worth £1.5million

Since making the switch to Elland Road, the Whites have cemented themselves as a top-flight club, with Greenwood excelling in the under-23 team and making his first-team debut in the FA Cup.

A loan move could be on the cards as the youngster pushes for regular game time to aid his development.

Joe Hugill - Manchester United

In the summer of 2020, Manchester United fought off competition from Arsenal, Tottenham, Leeds United and Wolves to sign Joe Hugill from Sunderland.

The transfer was said to have cost around £300,000.

Since then, the 17-year-old striker has made a big impression and often plays ahead of his age group, regularly appearing for Manchester United’s under-23s and England’s youth teams.

Indeed, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has heaped praise upon the youngster and it might not be too long until Hugill is seen in and around the first team.

Francis Okoronkwo - Everton (?)

Hot prospect Francis Okoronkwo looks set to be the next Sunderland youngster to leave the club amid reports Everton are to sign him in a deal worth up to £1million.

Reports suggest that the deal is subject to Premier League ratification.

The youngster, who was invited to an AC Milan training camp five years ago, has long been earmarked as a potential star by academy chiefs at Sunderland who are keen to develop young players and show them a pathway through to the first team.

Luca Stephenson – Liverpool

After leaving swapping Wearside for Merseyside, Luca Stephenson has since signed his first professional contract with Liverpool.

The versatile attacking midfielder joined the Reds back in 2018 for a fee in the region of £500,000.

The 17-year-old has made his debut for Liverpool’s under-18s during the 2019-20 season and has cemented himself as a regular in the youth ranks.

Logan Pye – Manchester United

The young striker departed Sunderland alongside Pye to join what he described as 'the biggest club in the world' in Manchester United.

The 17year-old left-back is an England youth international but saw his season cut short by injury.

Pye played 10 league games for United’s under-18 side, the final one of these coming at the end of January.