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Fan Letters: Why do Sunderland’s managers not make better use of our academy?

“We should be building the squad around our young players and adding experience to bring them through”, says RR reader Anth, who thinks Sunderland don’t do enough in developing their best youngsters. Got something to say?!

Sunderland Pre-Season Training Session Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I, like many others, am sad to see our homegrown talent leaving - and for next to nothing in some cases. So why do all our managers not make use of these players? Surely with potential salary caps coming now is the time to do it.

It annoyed me last season when due to injury we went and signed Tommy Smith, who never played anyway - surely one of our younger players could have taken the role? Even if only for the experience.

Why are we constantly linked with other teams cast offs, yet when we were in the premier league we regularly loaned players out to the first division, yet these players are now deemed not good enough.

We should be building the squad around our young players and adding experience to bring them through.

Anth Asbery

Ed’s Note [Gav]: I agree with the premise of what you are saying, Anth - Sunderland, generally speaking, don’t do a good enough job of bringing through young players.

I guess to answer your first question - my suspicion is that in most cases the managers in charge have felt the pressure of needing to succeed, either against relegation or achieving promotion, and as such have neglected our youngsters in favour of players who they assume are experienced enough to do a job.

The salary cap should hopefully force Sunderland into making better use of our youngsters. Elliot Embleton, if he stays fit, surely has to become a first team regular. Denver Hume should now be our first choice full back. Lynden Gooch is experienced now and should be one of our top players.

Those underneath in the 23s - namely Patterson, Jack Diamond, Brandon Taylor and Kimpioka (if he signs a new deal) - should become established first team squad members.

If we don’t proactive promote these players then we’ll continue to waste their potential.

To me, having a category one academy when you’re a team in the third tier should be a definite advantage. You should have a pool of young players at your disposal who you can pick from, giving you a really strong, deep squad for what is a gruelling campaign.

Sadly, most managers favour experience and Parkinson’s signings and actions since arriving suggest he’s very much in that mould.

I crave the day Sunderland have a Director of Football in place that is passionate about our academy, who recruits good young players to complement those from the academy, who offers our best youngsters a proper pathway into the first team, and who has a say in appointing a manager who has a strong philosophy when it comes to young players.

Sunderland v Carlisle United - Checkatrade Trophy Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

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