The clear message Lee Johnson sent on Elliot Embleton's Sunderland future amid Blackpool praise
Lee Johnson has said that Elliot Embleton will be part of his senior squad next season after hailing his 'exceptional' start at Blackpool.
Embleton did not feature against his parent club on Saturday as they cut the gap between themselves and the Black Cats to just three points. Neil Critchley's side have played a game less.
Embleton's deadline day loan switch came as something of a surprise, though Johnson had said that he was looking to trim the numbers in forward areas.
Blackpool have been one of the form sides in the division in recent times and though it did take some time for the 22-year-old to establish himself in the starting XI, he has been an integral figure of late.
Johnson said ahead of the game at Bloomfield Road that the pair have been in regular dialogue.
“What we do know is it’s an easy decision in the summer with Elliot,” he said.
“He’ll come back and be in the squad. He’s come through our academy, we want to promote him and the reason for him going to Blackpool is for him to do what he’s done.
"We wanted him to be successful in a good side playing good football, helping to take points off other teams.
“He’s done that extremely well. We’re always examining the data side of his performance and we’ve been in touch regularly. "When we looked at it in January, he might have ended up in a similar situation to Chris Maguire in the last couple of weeks where he's not in the 18, and that wouldn't be conducive to ours or his future moving forward into next season.
"He’s a great footballer who can play off both feet, both channels, and he perfectly suits their 4-2-2-2 system. He’s done exceptionally well.”
Embleton was replaced in the side by former Sunderland trialist Demetri Mitchell on Saturday, and is expected to return to the fold when Blackpool travel to Rochdale on Tuesday night.
Head Coach Neil Critchley said ahead of the game on Saturday that Embleton has 'proven he's a very good player' during his loan stint so far.
"I'm delighted for Elliot," Critchley said.
"When we brought him in he possibly went under the radar a little bit. He's not a player that created a load of healdines, a marquee signing if you like.
"But I knew how good he was, I'd seen him play for Sunderland for a number of years in the youth system and in the England youth teams.
"I knew what he was capable of and I'm delighted that he's proven that he's a very good player.
"His performances haven't surprised me at all, he's fitted in to how I want to play and I think he's enjoyed playing in our team because it suits him."
Embleton's contract had been due to expire this summer but in announcing his loan departure to Blackpool, Sunderland confirmed that they would be taking up an option to extend it.
Embleton has now made 25 appearances across all competitions this season.