Following the conclusion of Sunderland under-18s’ season, Owen Gamble has taken time out to reflect on what has been a fine 18 months for the team and himself.
Formerly at Doncaster Rovers, Gamble signed for the Black Cats as a No.10 but has since adapted his game to become a consistent feature at right-back.
Having played a large part of the past season in defence, Gamble has adjusted his game well and that has been helped by the facilities on offer at the Academy of Light.
“It’s a different world up here,” Gamble told safc.com. “I had to learn quickly when I started because the first few months were quite tough when I moved up here, but I have worked hard, settled in well and I’m enjoying my time here.
“The staff have set me up really well and from an educational point of view I come out of training and it’s only a five minute walk so that’s really helpful."
He added: “In my first year it was a struggle and I didn’t do my best but I feel as though I am picking myself up this year and I’m hoping to kick on next term.”
After joining Doncaster when he was 13, Gamble rose through the youth ranks and went on to feature for their under-14s, under-15s and under-16s before breaking into their youth team.
Since signing for Sunderland, Gamble has completed the first year of his scholarship and has enjoyed the transition from being part time to full time.
“I was getting pushed all the time at Donny and eventually broke into the youth team. I think in the end that’s what pushed Sunderland to come in and now I'm here.
“I knew a few people who had been at academies before I started and that helped but I didn’t know too much, as before I trained three nights a week – Monday, Wednesday and Thursday – then used to play on a Sunday.”
He continued: “It was a busy schedule but I didn’t mind it at all because I was able to go and play football, and since I have turned full time it has been great and I have loved every second because all I want to do is play football.”