Bali Mumba has spoken of his pride following an incredible season at Sunderland which culminated in him making his first team debut.
The 16-year-old schoolboy made his debut in the 3-0 over Wolves and was handed the captain’s armband by the man he replaced, John O’Shea.
Mumba became the club’s fourth youngest ever debutant at the age of 16 - and the youngest ever captain - following a season that has seen him make his Under-18, Under-23 and first team debut.
But it was back to the schoolbooks this week ahead of his GCSEs.
Mumba said: “I was warming up and Robbie Stockdale called me over and said give it another five minutes, and from then on I just couldn’t stop smiling. I was so excited.
“It’s been a brilliant season.
“I didn’t even expect to get in the Under-23s this season, so to be here now is amazing and it’s a massive bonus.
“I have to thank Robbie for giving me the opportunity, as I didn’t expect it would come as quickly as it has.
“The last week has been great – I just think back to training for the first time at my age with the under-18s, and then the 23s, and now the first team – it’s all a blessing for me.
“That was a special moment [when John O’Shea handed me the captain’s armband], as he’s played up there with the very, very best players.
“For me to come on for him and to get the captain’s armband as well, it was amazing.”
Mumba was an unused substitute at Fulham before making his debut nine days later as a late sub against Wolves.