Youngster settling into life at the Academy of Light.
Sunderland development squad midfielder Duncan Watmore spoke of his delight at notching his first Black Cats goal in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Darlington at Bishop Auckland.
Watmore bagged the winner in his second game of pre-season after also featuring in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Southampton at the Academy of Light.
And the former Altrincham man was pleased to show his goal-scoring ability early on in his Sunderland career.
“It was a nice feeling, especially with it being the winner,” Watmore said. “It was good to get on the scoresheet and I’m just glad to be playing, really.”
The 19-year-old joined up with his new teammates two weeks ago and is settling into life on Wearside nicely ahead of the Barclays U21 Premier League campaign.
And Watmore believes he is working harder than ever to get his fitness levels up to scratch after moving from part-time football with Altrincham to full-time duty at the Academy of Light.
“I didn’t really know what to expect because I’ve never been in full-time football before but it’s been hard work, as you would imagine, but good fun – I’ve been really impressed with the structure of it all,” he added.
“It’s been really hard work but enjoyable hard work because you know you have to put in the hard yards to get the results.
“You’re not really used to it but they [coaching staff] have been good – there are certain exercises I’m not used to or accustomed to doing, so they’re just getting me ready for that and I’m gradually getting better so hopefully I’ll be as physically fit as the other lads in no time.”
The Cheadle Hulme-born youngster has also been full of praise for the coaching staff at the Academy, stating that he feels in safe hands under Kevin Ball and Robbie Stockdale in the under-21 side.
“The staff here are so impressive, the physios, the sport scientists, Bally and Robbie, everyone,” Watmore continued.
“You know you’re in safe hands and you know they’ve got your best interests at heart."