Paul Bryson has been left delighted with the application his players have shown over pre-season.
Six friendlies have seen Sunderland under-18s lose just twice in their preparations for the Premier League season, which kicks off this weekend at Manchester United.
Having helped no fewer than 13 first-year scholars settle into the routine of full-time football, Bryson is excited to get going and believes the work over pre-season will stand his players in good stead.
“Pre-season has been really good to be fair,” he said.
“The lads are quite a close-knit group and that’s been because of the years previous.
“A lot of the first-years have played up at this level before, so the lads have gelled really well.
“I’m really pleased with that and we’ve been able to expose them to friendlies against senior teams which has been good for their development.
“Overall, pre-season has been good, and they’ve been very receptive to what we’ve been teaching them,” he continued.
“They’ve wanted to learn and get better and that starts on Saturday.”