During an impromptu question and answer session on Twitter late last week, Academy manager Paul Reid mentioned - without revealing a name - that Sunderland had recently signed a young French player.
That player is 16-year-old Lilyan Compper, who joins Sunderland from French club COS Villers on a two-year deal.
The scouting network is primarily UK based but we use contacts across Europe. We’ve just signed a young player from France and have another European player on trial soon.— Paul Reid (@paulreid06) August 10, 2018
The young winger has spoke about the move with L’Est Républicain and has revealed that he has already trained with both the under-18s and under-23s, as well as how they tested him while he was at the Academy of Light:
I had to go twice, to pass new series of exams. I trained with their U18 and U23 and they analyzed several factors such as my endurance, my speed or my spring.
Although he admits it’s strange to leave France at such a young age he understands that it is a sacrifice he must make if he is to make it as a professional footballer - and reveals his number one priority is to learn English to help him adapt:
It’s a little strange to leave my family, my friends, but this is a must if you want to one day become pro.
I’m staying with a host family and going to the Academy every day. The most important during these first weeks will be to know how to speak English, it will facilitate my adaptation.
Compper had previously been on the books of French side AS Nancy and, like his idols Thierry Henry and Kylian Mbappé, is rapid right footed attacking player.