Ross Stewart reveals goalscoring target and verdict on Sunderland's young signings
Ross Stewart believes Sunderland have a good mix between youth and experience following the arrival of several younger players this summer.
The 24-year-old only moved to Wearside in January, but has admitted he already feels like one of the senior players after the club made nine new signings for the 2021/22 campaign.
Sunderland predominantly targeted younger players from higher-league clubs, and started their 3-1 win over Wycombe with 17-year-old Callum Doyle, who is on loan from Manchester City, and former Tottenham full-back Dennis Cirkin, 19, in defence.
Academy graduates Anthony Patterson, 21, Dan Neil, 19, and Elliot Embleton, 22, also started the fixture and have enjoyed fine starts to the season.
“Age is not a factor, if you’re good enough, you play games,” said Stewart when asked about Sunderland’s youthful squad.
“Everybody that’s in that starting XI is there on merit at the minute. The young lads started the season really well, and we’ve got a great mix of youth and experience in there. I think that helps the younger lads.
“The team is playing really well, and with the gaffer’s style, everybody knows what’s expected of them. With all that mixing together and combining, I think you’re seeing a really good team at the minute.
“It’s just down to us now to keep building. It’s been a really good start, and if we can keep playing like that and how we’ve played in previous games this season, then I’m sure we can go on and win a lot of games this year.”
Stewart has made an excellent start to the season too, scoring four goals in five league appearances.
The striker is enjoying playing in an offensive side, which saw him supported by Embleton, Aiden McGeady and Lynden Gooch against Wycombe.
Stewart scored twice in that match, heading home Embleton’s cross in the first half to open the scoring, before adding a second when he converted Neil’s pass seven minutes from time.
“It’s credit to the midfielders in seeing those passes,” replied Stewart when asked about the support he’s receiving. “But I also think it’s down to how we play with the high press.
“When we win the ball back high up, it’s easier for these guys to see the through balls, not only to myself, but also to Goochy, Geads and Embo.
“They’re making really good forward runs as well, and I think with all of that combined with the style in which the gaffer is trying to get us to play, it’s a really attacking team.
“That’s how we want to be, and I think you’ve seen that in large spells. It’s been a really good start.
Asked if he’s set a target for this season, Stewart said: “Target setting for a striker, the first one for me is always, ‘Can I get to double digits?’ Then if I get there, can I go on and add more?"
“It’s been a really good start for me, and it’s been a really good start for the team. Whether it’s me scoring, or Embo or Geads or Gooch, as long as we’re winning games, we’ll be happy.”