Josh Maja doesn't have to look far for Sunderland guidance

Why Josh Maja must learn from Jack Colback and these nine Sunderland academy graduates

As speculation continues to surround Josh Maja's future at Sunderland, he doesn't have to look far for guidance.

Such has been the success of Sunderland's academy in recent years that several of their graduates have been offered opportunities to leave the Stadium of Light, with Maja the latest to be linked away after talk of interest from Bristol City. As Maja continues discussions over a new contract, he may cast an eye on some of his predecessors who have enjoyed varying levels of success since leaving the Stadium of Light. Here, we take a look at nine of the Black Cats' academy products whose journeys after leaving Wearside could offer the striker some guidance:

After progressing through Sunderland's academy, Colback became a first-team regular at the Stadium of Light before swapping Wearside for Tyneside, joining Newcastle United in 2014. His move didn't quite work out as planned, though, with the midfielder currently on loan at Nottingham Forest having found first team opportunities elusive.

1. Jack Colback

After progressing through Sunderland's academy, Colback became a first-team regular at the Stadium of Light before swapping Wearside for Tyneside, joining Newcastle United in 2014. His move didn't quite work out as planned, though, with the midfielder currently on loan at Nottingham Forest having found first team opportunities elusive.
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On the flip side, former Sunderland skipper and academy graduate Henderson has flourished since leaving the Black Cats, becoming a first team regular at Liverpool and a key player for England.

2. Jordan Henderson

On the flip side, former Sunderland skipper and academy graduate Henderson has flourished since leaving the Black Cats, becoming a first team regular at Liverpool and a key player for England.
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The striker was a rare shining light for Sunderland last season after joining the club's academy from his native Sweden. But Asoro has struggled for game time since joining Swansea in the summer, and is a good example of why Maja may not want to move just yet.

3. Joel Asoro

The striker was a rare shining light for Sunderland last season after joining the club's academy from his native Sweden. But Asoro has struggled for game time since joining Swansea in the summer, and is a good example of why Maja may not want to move just yet.
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Another success story is that of Pickford, who has become Everton and England's number one since leaving Sunderland. The Washington-born stopper is a fine example of a player who has pushed on since leaving the Black Cats - and could Maja be tempted to follow his lead?

4. Jordan Pickford

Another success story is that of Pickford, who has become Everton and England's number one since leaving Sunderland. The Washington-born stopper is a fine example of a player who has pushed on since leaving the Black Cats - and could Maja be tempted to follow his lead?
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