I was particularly heartened by the performances of youngsters Duncan Watmore and Lynden Gooch in Sunderland’s win over Exeter in the Capital One Cup last week, which turned into a more entertaining night than I expected.
Nobody wants to see players hurt, especially with head injuries, but Steven Fletcher’s misfortune finally gave Watmore his chance from the bench and he grabbed it with both hands.
From the moment he came on, there wasn’t a negative thought in his head – running directly at the Exeter defence, who couldn’t cope with his pace and movement.
It was the first time I’d seen Gooch in action and I was impressed. He certainly didn’t look out of place, and his energy and enthusiasm, along with Watmore’s, invigorated the team.
The two youngsters lit up the night, and while they have far more difficult challenges ahead of them if they are to make it in the game, on Tuesday they did all that was asked of them.
If they can fulfil their potential and make an impact this season, that can only be a bonus for Dick Advocaat.