Elliot Embleton says his loan spell at Grimsby has made him a better player ahead of a big summer for the promising youngster, writes Adam Trotman.
Embleton’s loan spell at the League Two outfit had to be cut short due to a hamstring injury but he will be fully fit in time for pre-season.
The highly-rated Sunderland youngster is out of contract this summer and has been offered a new deal, with club officials confident he will commit.
After only a handful of first team Sunderland appearances under his belt, the 20-year-old joined Grimsby on loan last summer, playing in 30 games for them, including an FA Cup tie with Crystal Palace and scoring four times across his spell.
Embleton won rave reviews during his loan spell at Blundell Park and he believes it made him a better player.
Embleton said: “It was a great experience and it makes you realise how much I’ve maybe taken for granted without probably realising it.
“The aim now is to get back fit, rest and give myself time to recover.
“Then, I will start to focus on strengthening before getting back out on the grass and running again in time for pre-season to start.”
He added: “I loved every minute of being at Grimsby. It’s been a really good experience playing league games and in the FA Cup.
“I feel as though I’ve learnt a lot and improved as a player physically, technically and tactically.
“The experience has changed my outlook and understanding because you have to manage the game depending on the state of it, communicate with team-mates on the pitch and do everything you can to get three points to move up the league.”
Embleton added: “I’ve been at the academy since I was seven and the facilities are obviously some of the best in the country.
“At Grimsby it’s different.
“We would have to go to the leisure centre nearby for our recovery in the pool and when the pitches were frozen at the training ground, we had to go to astro pitches down the road,” added Embleton.