Youngster on breakthrough season, relegation hurt and putting Sunderland 'back where it belongs'

Gooch has been a rare plus for Sunderland this season
Gooch has been a rare plus for Sunderland this season
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Lynden Gooch says he hopes to help put Sunderland 'back where it belongs', starting with promotion next season.

The 22-year-old has almost recovered from an injury that saw him miss the closing games of the season, having impressed as a right-winger under Chris Coleman.

After his most successful season to date, Gooch admitted that the likes of he and George Honeyman have had their breakthrough campaigns dampened by the club's relegation.

He said the difficulties of the season would 'always be a part' of the pair but hopes that they can help the Black Cats move on.

"Our dream coming through the academy is to play for Sunderland in the Premier League, not to be part of a team that's been relegated from the Premier League, relegated from the Championship," Gooch told safc.com.

"It's a massive disappointment for us to be playing in League One, we never want to be part of something like that [successive relegations] but it's our job now to fix the problem. If we do bounce back then we can move on. We haven't had many highs in our young careers and we want to put the club back where it belongs."

Gooch, like Honeyman, has one year left on his current contract.

He is hoping to be picked for international duty with the USA and will then look to nail down his first team place on return.

He said: "It's the most I've played for the first team this season, I've made a lot of appearances. It's frustrating obviously because we've been relegated and that's a huge disappointment for everyone. On a personal note I've played a lot, scored my first senior goal, set up a few goals, hopefully I can kick on and become a regular starter.

"Whenever there's a challenge I want to rise to it and overcome it, the manager [Chris Coleman] laid down the gauntlet to me and I responded well to get back into the team. That's only going to help me."