HOT PROSPECT Duncan Watmore will be given his opportunity to impress in Sunderland’s Premier League run-in.
Winger Watmore has been the stand-out figure for Sunderland’s Under-21 squad this season, with a host of Football League sides enquiring about taking the 21-year-old on loan.
Sunderland have resisted those offers, believing Watmore’s development is best-served by continuing to train at the Academy of Light.
But Watmore, fit-again after missing two months of action with a broken leg, has not been given the chance to add to his solitary first-team appearance – a substitute’s outing in last season’s FA Cup third round win over Carlisle.
However, that could change with Sunderland’s creative options currently thin on the ground.
Emanuele Giaccherini is out for the season with an ankle injury, Will Buckley is struggling with a knee problem, while Adam Johnson remains suspended by the club amidst an ongoing police investigation.
I was thinking about playing him and putting him on because we needed someone to take the ball from our half to their half.
But Sunderland boss Gus Poyet, who included Watmore on the bench for the defeat at Manchester United nine days ago, believes the ex-Altrincham wideman will get a chance at some point.
Poyet told the Echo: “I think he was becoming an important player and then he got injured unfortunately before Christmas.
“That was a big disappointment because he was out for nearly two months, plus.
“He’s only had a couple of games of 20, 30 minutes in his recovery (for the U21s).
“But it (his Premier League debut) will come.
“We’ve got Ricky (Alvarez) back and Jack (Rodwell) and Watmore.
“Sooner or later, he’s going to get his chance.”
Poyet admits that he had considered introducing Watmore to the fray during the second half at Old Trafford, when Sunderland were struggling to mount any sort of attacking threat after being reduced to 10 men.
“He was the perfect player to have on the bench (at Manchester United),” added Poyet.
“I was thinking about playing him and putting him on because we needed someone to take the ball from our half to their half.
“Looking at the bench, the only player who could do that was Duncan.
“Duncan was an option, and away at Old Trafford would have been a nice way to make his debut.”
Watmore is expected to feature for the U21s tonight, when Sunderland host West Ham at Eppleton CW (7pm).