Sunderland starlet Duncan Watmore: I’ll do it my way to break into first team

Duncan Watmore (left) helps James Wilson celebrate his midweek winner for England U21s
Duncan Watmore (left) helps James Wilson celebrate his midweek winner for England U21s
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Sunderland starlet Duncan Watmore insists he won’t change the way he plays just to get into the first team.

Watmore has been one of the few pluses in a difficult start to the season for the Black Cats.

I’m in the team because that’s the way I play, there’s no point me playing any different

Duncan Watmore

The youngster produced an impressive cameo as a second-half substitute against Norwich, scoring on his Premier League debut, and followed that up with another goal against Exeter City in the Capital One Cup.

It continued the rise of the attacker, who was named Premier League Under-21 Player of the Season at the end of the last campaign, followed by a debut for England Under-21s on Thursday night where he set up the only goal in a 1-0 win over the United States’ Under-23s.

And Watmore says that the style of play – high energy, positive and attack-minded – that has brought him success in Sunderland’s second string can work for him in Dick Advocaat’s first team, provided he keeps working hard at other parts of his game.

“I’m in the team because that’s the way I play, there’s no point me playing any different,” he said.

“Sometimes it will work and sometimes it won’t.

“But if I keep playing like that, hopefully it will work more often than not.

“I’ll get better and I’m already learning a bit about game-management, and the things you need in the first-team with the intensity levels.

“I don’t want to lose my game or style though because that’s the way I play and why I’m in the team.”

Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat has appeared reluctant to throw the youngster – signed from Altrinchan two years ago – too much into the fray, with Sunderland fighting against relegation at the back end of last season, and then struggling for confidence after a slow start to the new campaign.

But any reservations the Dutchman may possess haven’t been replicated by the majority of supporters, who have been clamouring for the 22-year-old’s inclusion in the starting XI.

Watmore is delighted he has become an instant fans’ favourite and say the support from the crowd when he has played has helped improve his performances.

“The fans here are unbelievable and I can’t show my gratitude enough, because it does give me a boost,” he added.

“When I go on the pitch, I feed off the atmosphere and makes me play better, so from that perspective, I can only thank them and hopefully I can keep making them happy.”

Watmore’s next action comes on Monday night, when England visit Norway in a European Under-21 Championshoip qualifier.

He goes there with praise from Manchester United striker James Wilson, following his part in Thursday’s winner.

Goalscorer Wilson said: “It was great play from him to square and I could tap it in from the right place,” admitted Wilson.

“I’ve seen him score three or four goals now for England and Sunderland and they’ve all been similar, so you’ve got to expect from Duncan.

“He’s a great competitor and footballer though, so it’s good to play alongside him.”