Hear from one of the Academy's new signings.
Up-and-coming youngster James Talbot is delighted to have joined some of Irish football’s leading lights on Wearside.
The young goalkeeper, who hails from Dublin, will join the club’s under-18 side in the summer and was recently crowned the FAI’s Schoolboy of the Year.
Talbot currently plays for Home Farm as well as representing his country at under-16 level.
He travelled to Wearside last week to train with the club and has already been congratulated by the likes of national team mainstay John O’Shea.
“It is great to be at the same club as them,” he told safc.com. “I talked to John and he congratulated me on the award.
“[Signing here] feels great. It’s not hit me yet. I had a few trials and when I was asked to sign I was over the moon.”
As well as senior Ireland players O'Shea, James McClean and Keiren Westwood, the Irish influence extends down into the Academy ranks with defender John Egan and goalkeeper Peter Burke also on the books.
Having been tracked by a number of clubs, Talbot had several offers on the table, but after speaking to Sunderland his destination was clear.
“As soon as I got here I knew I wanted to sign,” the youngster explained. “I felt at home and everything was great.
“The coaches, the other staff, the pitches – it is brilliant.”
Winning the award was another boost for the big stopper, who will begin his two-year scholarship at the Academy of Light in July.
He was joined by another Sunderland-bound player – Dan Casey – on the three-man shortlist and admitted he was pleasantly surprised to come out on top.
“It was a complete surprise. Myself and Dan were talking and there have been players who’ve been excellent throughout the year.
“I didn’t think I’d get it so I was surprised when they read my name out.”
Talbot added: “I can’t wait to start at Sunderland now. The conversations I’ve had with the staff here have all been good.
“My parents have been over for a trip as well. I’ll be coming back at Easter before starting full-time in July.
“I’m excited to come over here. There’s some nerves as well, but every time I’ve been here I’ve loved it.”