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Sunderland hand non-league striker a trial & ex-academy boss left due to uncertainty at the club

Sunderland have given a 16-year old Horden CW striker an eight-week trial; and ex-Sunderland U18s manager Paul Bryson has explained that uncertainty at the club was a key reason for his recent departure.

Sunderland AFC

Trial for Horden striker

Sunderland have taken 16-year-old Horden Community Welfare striker Jack Maskell on an 8-week trial as they give the youngster the opportunity to earn a professional contract.

Despite only being sixteen, his impressive displays for the club’s under-18 side have seen him force his way into the first team picture at Horden.

Speaking on Facebook, the club’s Youth Manager Andy Colledge said Maskell will make it far in the game, regardless of how his trial with Sunderland goes, and revealed there have been a number of Northern League sides who have shown interest in the youngster:

Great news for young Jack who’s been offered an 8 week trial with SAFC.

I’ve said for last two seasons that Jack has chance to break into the pro game. A big strong powerful player with great technical ability he’s very affective in both boxes, brave as a lion and prepared to get hurt this for me gives ticks all the right boxes.

He’s really kicked on this season with Horden under 18s and this hasn’t gone unnoticed hence him breaking into our first teams mangers plans.

We’ve had numerous Northern League Division 1 teams asking about taking Jack but we need to be realistic here, the lad is only 16 and still learning the game, I asked Jack to trust me and allow me to help him develop as a player and use my contacts within the game, and he done this by staying with us at Horden under 18s.

He’s now seeing the rewards by getting his first trial at pro level, if this don’t work out there will be more to come.

In football you have to keep your feet on the ground and have the right people around you, taking the wrong advice can really affect your future in the game.

I’ve said it before and will say it again this kid will go very far in the game but let’s just take it one step at a time.

Jack Maskell

Bryson on Sunderland spell

Paul Bryson left his role as head coach of Sunderland under-18s in September, to take up a role at the i2i International Soccer Academy and has also recently taken up a role with his former club Birtley Town. interviewed Bryson about his time at the Academy of Light and he revealed that, despite five wonderful years at Sunderland, the uncertainty at the club was the biggest factor in him leaving for the i2i Academy:

I had a wonderful five years at Sunderland full-time, and I’d also worked there the previous 13 years part-time. So I’d been there a long time, made a lot of good friends, it was just a little bit of the uncertainty of the club.

That was the biggest factor in me leaving, and there was a chance to go to i2i, where it seems as if there’s a bit more job security there.

But as I say, I had a fantastic 18 years there, and I wouldn’t swap that for the world. There are times where you think you’ve got to move on, and with me moving on to i2i, it’s enabled me to go back to Birtley, which is a club I hold close to my heart after playing there five years. I’ve been back twice as coach and as manager a few years back. Now, I think it’s got firm foundations, and it’s a club that’s on the up.

Bryson goes on to say that the last couple of years, as the club have been stuck in League One have been a bit of a struggle and points, again, to the uncertainty surrounding the club:

It was great when it was in the Premier League, but the majority of that time I was only part-time; I felt my worth but I didn’t have a real feel for it. My first three years at the club full-time were fantastic. It was only when the club got relegated that the uncertainty comes in, but even in the Championship, it was a good place to be, because I think everybody firmly believed that the club was going to bounce straight back.

The last couple of years were a little bit of a struggle, the biggest thing was the uncertainty, but as I say, I’ve met some fantastic people. Some of the managers, I still keep in touch with Jack Ross now, he was an absolutely lovely guy. The two guys there now, Phil Parkinson and Steve Parkin, they’re lovely people and you really want them to do well.

Bryson had a lot of praise for former Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson and went on to single out Elliot Embleton as one of the most technically-gifted players he has ever worked with:

Obviously the big name is Jordan Henderson. I worked with him at 14 and 15, and I’ve proudly got a letter off Jordan’s dad. It’s him saying to the academy manager at that time how much Jordan loved his football, and that it’s with the work of Paul Bryson, and I was working with Lewis Dickman at the time.

It’s how Jordan likes it that much he wants to be there an hour before, he doesn’t want to go home after training, and I just think that’s probably the biggest compliment you can get off someone who’s captained Liverpool, won the Champions League, Premier League, captained his country.

Other ones over the last couple of years, Sam Greenwood, who’s gone to Leeds now, Bali Mumba, Dan Neil, Elliot Embleton.

Elliot’s probably one of the most technically-gifted players I’ve worked with. He’s unfortunately been injured this year but I think he’s got a big future in the game.

When asked which Sunderland managers took the most interest in the youth teams at Sunderland, Bryson pointed to Jack Ross and his assistant John Potter being keen to involve the under-18s in some of the first team training sessions:

Yeah, over the last five years, Jack Ross, and John Potter. They had a big interest in the Under-18s; even before some games on a Saturday, they would turn up at the training ground where the 18s were playing.

They would come to Youth Cup ties, which I thought was absolutely brilliant. They took the 18s over to join in some of the sessions, which was invaluable for the younger lads as experience.

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