Jack Ross has described Josh Maja’s goalscoring ability as ‘scarily good’ and revealed what is so impressive about his stats in front of goal.
The 19-year-old striker is League One’s joint-top scorer with nine goals in 12 games but it is the variety of ways he has scored that has so impressed Ross.
Maja is comfortable with both feet and has shared his goals out between his right and left foot, while also bagging a header.
And he even found a new way of scoring in the 2-1 win over Bradford City - expertly chesting home Lee Cattermole’s volley.
Eight of his strikes have come from open play with clinical Maja scoring all nine of his goals from inside the penalty area.
Ross admits there are parts of Maja’s game that need to improve but has described his goalscoring record as “fantastic” - with the teenager netting a goal every 108 minutes in the league.
And all that while playing with an ankle problem in recent weeks.
The teenager is out of contract next summer with talks ongoing to tie him down to a new deal.
“We’ve said before that there are bits of his game that he needs to improve on but his goalscoring record is fantastic,” said Ross.
“I was chatting to him before the Bradford game, I texted one of our analysts for the breakdown of his goals.
“I think it was 4-3 from left to right foot and a header. That’s brilliant, that’s not easy to do.
“I thought his goal against Peterborough was terrific.
“It doesn’t grab loads of headlines because it’s not top corner but if you see how he shifts it and where he puts it in the net, he’s so good at that.
“Scarily good actually.
“I keep saying, the goals he could get, at 19 it is brilliant, really, really good,” added Ross ahead of Saturday’s trip to Shrewsbury Town.
Maja, who was rested for the Checkatrade Trophy win over Carlisle United, will once again lead the attack.
He has been shouldering the attacking responsibility following the injury to Charlie Wyke.
The EFL young player of the month for August is now joint-top scorer with Peterborough United’s Matt Godden after a weekend off for Sunderland following international call-ups.
Maja has also won praise from Sunderland legend Gary Bennett.
The former Black Cats skipper agrees there are elements of his game to work on but has praised the striker’s impressive record - especially given his tender years.
Bennett, speaking on our SAFC Facebook Live Q&A with supporters, said: “He is judged by how many goals he scores and yes we know his retention of the ball can be poor at times but you have to remember he is only 19 and is still learning the game and he is improving. He will get stronger, that will come.
“One thing you can’t coach is scoring goals, he has a knack. He is comfortable with both feet, that is natural talent.”