Jack Ross was ‘blown away’ by Bali Mumba’s potential when he first took charge at Sunderland and believes the teenager has a big future.
Mumba made his Sunderland debut as a late sub in the end of season 3-0 win over Championship champions Wolves and hasn’t looked back.
Currently away with England Under-18s, Mumba started the League One campaign against Charlton and Luton before dropping out the side given the strength in depth in central midfield.
Ross has praised Mumba, who this week turned 17 with Sunderland looking to secure him to his first professional contract.
“I was blown away by him when I first started working with him,” said Ross.
“Not because he is the type of player that is a tricky winger or a goalscorer but because his all round feel for the game is incredible, he uses his body very well, positionally too.
“I watched him play for the 23s at the training ground and listened to him bossing teammates around and making demands of where people go, his understanding is really good and it is something you either have or you don’t.
“I think he has a really big future ahead of him. Physically he will grow and develop and he will maintain those core attributes that make him such a good player already.”
Ross told BBC Radio Newcastle: “I have to remind myself how young he is!
“Circumstances meant he was with me from day one of pre-season, I needed to have him for numbers but I was aware of his pedigree.
“I said ‘OK, come and train with me, I need you in terms of numbers and we’ll assess things,’ but he did so well that I kept him within the group.
“Although he is training with me every single day and will continue to do so in the main, there may be times we drop him back into the 23s – not from a football point of view, more because
sometimes he needs to spend time with people his own age!”