SUNDERLAND Under-18s coach Elliot Dickman has claimed he was “proud” of his side’s efforts, despite a disappointing penalty shoot-out exit to Newcastle United in the FA Youth Cup last night.
With both sides unable to break the deadlock over 120 minutes of football, the tie was settled when Dan Casey, Ethan Robson and Elliot Embleton missed from 12 yards in the shoot-out, Newcastle winning through 3-1..
“We’re really pleased with our players,” Dickman said.
“We probably edged it in terms of good chances, but they’re quite strong and quite resilient as well.
“It was a proper game of football but one that we can learn from and on that our players can come out of with credit. It was harsh to lose on penalties, but there has to be a winner unfortunately and we were on the wrong side of the coin (last night).
“We’re proud of what we’ve done, and throughout this cup run, but the main thing is getting back on the bike and having another opportunity this Saturday against Liverpool.”
Dickman hailed the Sunderland defence for their efforts in keeping dangermen Callum Roberts and Adam Armstrong at bay.
“I was really pleased, especially with someone like Denver Hume who’s missed the last few weeks through injury,” he said.
“Dan’s done smashing – he’s improving all the time, he’s getting that little bit stronger.
“In terms of that development programme, he’s done really well – it was a good test for him especially when he got booked in the first half.
“Michael Ledger was up against Armstrong who’s been involved in the first team – that can sometimes bring pressure on Michael and he’s done really, really well.
“Even Josh Robson when he went to left-back, he had to deal with Callum Roberts.”
The Wearsiders were close to finding the back of the net on a few occasions, with Rees Greenwood proving to be the most potent threat on the left-wing.
The 17-year-old has earned rave reviews in recent months for his stellar performances for the Black Cats, and is being tipped for a step up to the Under-21s.
Dickman feels that his key players is “ready”.
“We have got high hopes for Rees,” he said. “He’s still got bits to improve. He’s still got bits to develop. He’s a very good potential prospect. We’ve been pleased with him. He’s had another good performance.
“The next thing for him will be kicking on to move up with the Under-21s with Robbie Stockdale’s squad, and Rees is ready for that. So we’ll probably not see much of Rees now, which is fantastic for him.”