Sunderland coach delivers verdict on potential of exciting young talent Joe Hugill
Sunderland coach Elliott Dickman insisted that the club would look after 16-year-old Joe Hugill after he made his first appearance at Under-23s level.
The young striker is highly thought of within the Academy of Light after impressing at Under-16s and Under-18s so far this season.
The Durham-born frontman caught the eye with a hat-trick in a 5-2 win over Shrewsbury in an FA Youth Cup Second Round tie in November and has found the back of the net with a regular basis.
That came just weeks after Hugill had marked his Under-18s debut with a goal as he deputised for Irish striker Cole Kiernan in a 4-3 defeat against North East rivals Middlesbrough.
His form saw the six-foot two striker handed his maiden Under-23s call-up as Dickman’s side travelled to Northern League Division Two side Willington on Thursday night and Hugill came off the bench to play for the last half-hour of the Durham Challenge Cup Second Round tie.
After the game Dickman revealed that the youngster will be called up to the Black Cats second string again if he can continue his impressive form in the club’s younger academy sides.
“Joe is still young and he still has a lot to learn,” explained Dickman.
“But he has done really well in our under-16s and he has done really well in our under-18s too.
“So for us, the natural progression was to see him with us for tonight’s game.
“He is showing good progress and I think he will be back with the under-18s for now, but I am sure he will be with us again.
“If he keeps doing what he is doing, he will definitely get a taste of under-23s football again.
“But at the same time, we have to make sure we look after Joe.
“We can’t push him too quickly, but the signs are there that he has good potential.”