Houghton-born youngster in spotlightFirst-year scholar Ethan Robson has been with his boyhood club since he was a young lad and is highly thought of at the Academy of Light.
England selectors have been regular spectators when Robson has featured for the under-18 side as he looks to break into the national team setup.
Hailing from Houghton-le-spring, Robson attended St. Roberts school in Washington before joining up with the Black Cats full-time this summer.
And Robson, who made 19 appearances for the under-18’s last season, is hoping his previous experience with both the youth side and the development squad will benefit him in his first full-time season.
“It’s [being involved with the U18’s]definitely helped me – I’ve played quite a few games for the youth team and also the reserves as well so I’ve got a bit more experience which helps,” Robson said.
“I want to try and get as far as possible this season and obviously the playoffs like last year would be a great achievement.”
Sunderland fan Robson has caught the eye of the England selectors in recent years, though he is yet to represent his country at youth level – a big ambition of his.
“I’ve been on standby five or six times that is probably my aim to get around the England under-18’s side,” he added.
“I want to get among the reserve side at Sunderland as well which will help but I’ve got to keep playing well for the 18’s.”
Robson’s natural ability fills the staff at the AoL with excitement ahead of the coming season and the youngster, who scored in Friday’s 4-4 draw with Hartlepool, is keen to keep progressing this coming season.
“Pre-season has been tough work at the moment; we’ve done lots of running and possession and ball work.
“We played older lads in the Hartlepool game but it was a good experience for us.“Off the ball I want to improve my game as I need to improve in my position and track runners and stuff like that better but all the staff are really helpful and they’ll help improve my game.”