Academy boss on new addition to U21 squad.
Academy manager Ged McNamee believes that new young signing Duncan Watmore has the makings of an exciting player at the Academy of Light.
Watmore agreed a move to Wearside from Conference North side Altrincham last month and will officially join the club on July 1.
McNamee believe the 19-year-old, who won the Robins’ Player of the Year award last season, has “raw potential” and will fit right in.
“He’s a young lad playing in a man’s game and he was obviously observed by a number of staff who have all said the same good things about him,” McNamee said.
“He’s very direct, works very, very hard, he’s got a good attitude and, in some of the games that were observed, he’s played against senior players who’ve been round the block a bit and he’s taken a lot of heavy punishment, but he just gets up and gets on with it.
“He’s got something there that obviously we need and he has that potential; that’s why we brought him in – it’s up to us now to see if we can develop it and take it forward.”
Watmore, who progressed through the youth ranks at Manchester United, scored 14 goals in 29 league starts last season as Altrincham narrowly missed out on promotion to the Conference Premier.
And McNamee feels Watmore’s previous development will only help him as he prepares for his first season on Wearside.
“He’s well rounded, he’s maintaining his education, he has a good family background and support and he’s looking on it as a massive opportunity for him,” he added.
“As a young kid he was in with Manchester United so he understands the level and the size of Premier League clubs and you’ll imagine that he had a good grounding there [at Old Trafford] as well.”
McNamee also told safc.com that Sunderland staved off other interest to secure Watmore’s signature.
And the player himself made no hesitation in moving to Sunderland as soon as he heard of the Black Cats’ interest.
“He had a number of other clubs who were looking at him but he held off from them and wanted to come to a Premier League club and give it a go,” McNamee explained.
“You could call it a risk for us – it’s an opportunity for him – but I don’t look on it as a risk. It’s an opportunity because he has raw potential; we need to see if we can take that forward.”