'Unreal' 17-year-old Sunderland starlet tipped for Premier League by teammates after loan move

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Sunderland goalkeeper Matty Young has been tipped for big things by his teammates at Sunderland and Darlington.

Former Sunderland youth teamer Mitch Curry believes goalkeeper Matty Young is on course to reach impressive heights if his career trajectory remains on course.

Young, 17, is seen as one of the top prospects at the Academy of Light and has made a huge impact on National League North side Darlington's fortunes since arriving at the club on loan earlier this year to gain experience in senior football.

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Young has kept three clean sheets from nine starts at Darlington with seven wins under his belt since joining the club on loan under manager Steve Watson, formerly a player with Newcastle United. The shot-stopper has also been called up to represent England's under-18s during March's international break with significant hype now building around the young keeper.

“It is mental really,” former Sunderland player Curry told The Echo when asked how talented Young is. “I had heard about him from Dan Neil and Anthony Patterson. They said he was good. And then I spoke to Luke O’Nien and he said he was unreal! He actually said he thinks he will play in the Premier League, which is a big statement to make!

"Since he has come into Darlington, that’s where our upturn in form has come from and he has obviously been a big part of that. We have won seven of the last nine and he has played in eight of them. Everything about him is good. His kicking his physicality, his body. He is ahead of his years really."

Curry, 24, started life as a youth team player for Middlesbrough before switching to Sunderland in 2020 following loans with Harrogate Town and Gateshead in the National League and Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish second tier.

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“It is not easy to play in the National League North, especially as your first loan. I remember my first loan there with Harrogate Town and it grows you up quickly but you can see that he is switched on. He is a great kid and he has an older head on his shoulders."

“I don’t think he gets ahead of himself and he seems to just have a pretty basic life. When you ask him what he is doing after a game or a training session he just says he is going to go home and chill. There’s no ego with him."

Sunderland have a long and storied history of producing stellar goalkeepers; from Jarrow-born Jimmy Thrope in the 1930s and FA Cup-winning hero Jimmy Montgomery to England international Jordan Pickford and current Sunderland number-one Anthony Patterson, who made his 100th consecutive appearance for the club against QPR last Saturday.

Alongside Young, Sunderland also have several top goalkeepers within their youth ranks, including homegrown starlets Dan Cameron, Adam Richardson and Ben Metcalf. When asked who the best goalkeepers he had played with and how they compared to Young, Curry said: “Two of my best mates are Aynsley Pears and Brad James. Pears is playing at Blackburn now and he went on his first loan to Gateshead in the Conference at probably the same age.

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"With Patterson, he went on his first loan to Sunderland RCA I think and then Notts County. A lot of young goalkeepers struggle to find their way when they are 16 and 17 because they are growing and growing into their bodies but he (Young) has adapted really well to men’s football.

“Everyone at Sunderland seems to be saying the right thing about him. Mark Prudhoe (goalkeeping coach) rates him highly and Proc (Michael Proctor) has been texting me about him. It is good for Sunderland. He just needs to keep his feet on the ground. I think Sunderland’s main fear will be if he can take everything in his stride."

Sunderland allowed Young to extend his initial short-term loan deal at Darlington until the end of the season with the player progressing well and picking up valuable experience in the non-league sphere.

“It is really good (to get him to the end of the season)," Curry added. "He has been a big part of our form picking up. He adds a reassurance to the defence which helps the rest of the team and they’re all buzzing that he is staying. It all filters through.

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“It is also really beneficial to him getting the experience and playing with men rather than playing youth football. Kids should go on loan more when they are that age. He is growing up and he is in the changing room with men playing for a win bonus. Stuff like that makes a difference."

But how far can Young go in football? After all, so many promising youngsters do fall away from the spotlight owing to a myriad of different circumstances and misfortune.

“If he keeps on going the way he is then he is heading in the right direction to play for Sunderland but a lot can happen in football with injuries and stuff," Curry explains. "I have seen a lot of young players come through and for whatever reason it doesn’t work but in terms of attitude, I don’t think he will have any problems there.

"Maybe the one interesting thing is that he is 17 and he has an absolute man’s body. He looks like a proper man. How much more growing is he going to do? He can absolutely play for Sunderland unless he gets bought!"

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Sunderland return to action after the international break against Cardiff City in the Championship away from home on Easter Friday with Young back in contention for Darlington when The Quakers take on Chorley on the same day.

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