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Roker Report’s Academy Advent Calendar: 6th December - Wing wizard Luke Molyneux!

Behind door number 6 of our Academy Advent Calendar today is speed-merchant Luke Molyneux, a youngster who joined the club at under-16 level and has graduated through the ranks to become a regular for the current under-23 squad.

Ho Ho Ho!

Behind door number 6 is... Luke Molyneux!

Born in Durham, the 19-year-old can play on either flank or just behind the front man in a number ten role.

Molyneux has been a mainstay in our academy setup for a number of years now, non more so than this year under Elliott Dickman where he has featured in every Premier League 2 game, as well as completing 90 minutes in all of our Checkatrade Trophy ties.

His potential began to shine through whilst playing for the under-18s two seasons ago when he went on a four game goal-scoring streak, one of which included an absolute screamer away to Manchester United that earned him a shout in our club’s goal of the season competition.

In what the club website described as a ‘trademark goal’, the strike showcase his fine individual talent and ability to beat a man, whilst also showing how devastating he can be when allowed to cut inside.

Since that impressive scoring streak for the under-18s he’s gone from strength to strength.

Despite his versatility in the advanced midfield role, Luke has made the right wing position his own this season for Dickman’s side, beating off competition to cement himself as one of the first names on the under-23 team sheet alongside players who were previously above his age group, such as Rees Greenwood.

Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland - Premier League 2
Molyneux has been in fine form this season
Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

With the likes of Lynden Gooch and Joel Asoro moving on to play as part of our senior squad, Molyneux’s chance to secure a regular starting berth in the U23s squad was grabbed with both hands.

That said, he’ll be hoping to follow the pair into the first team squad sooner rather than later - particularly after experiencing a taste of first team action during Simon Grayson’s first pre-season match, a 3-2 win over Bury.

The youngster impressed on the right hand side of a midfield that also contained Jack Rodwell, Lee Cattermole and George Honeyman, almost scoring when his effort late in the first half almost beat former Sunderland ‘keeper Joe Murphy in the Shakers goal having been turned on to the bar.

Although he didn’t appear in Grayson’s pre-season set up again that summer, he still continued to impress when the under-23 season re-started. He turned in good performances in wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Everton, scoring in the latter game past Spanish stopper Joel Robles.

The form he had shown this season had already began to impress the fans who regularly attend Eppleton CW ground to take in U23s games, with many Twitter users commenting that the youngster deserves a shot at first team inclusion.

Unfortunately for the youngster, he sustained a knee ligament injury in our 0-2 home defeat to Swansea at the back end of last month which has put pay to his chances of impressing Chris Coleman for the time being - the devastating blow will see the wide-man miss out on the next two to three months of action until he is back fit and firing.

There are a number of talented players in our U23s side but Molyneux has, this season, stood out more than just about any other player.

Here’s hoping that he returns back even fitter and stronger following his injury and is able to develop even further - in all honesty he’s got everything there to suggest that he might succeed at this club if given the opportunity to do so.