Sunderland teenager Tommy Watson has become the latest name to be etched into the history books of players to represent the first team for the Club.
At just 17 years and 10 days old, the young winger replaced Patrick Roberts in the closing minutes of Tuesday night’s draw with Huddersfield Town in the Sky Bet Championship.
Entering the field in front of over 37,000 fans at the Stadium of Light was a moment the boyhood Black Cats fan, his family and his youth coaches will always cherish.
“It’s quite surreal, to be fair. I didn’t have long to think about it and process it,” Watson recalled.
“When it got to 1-1, I didn’t really expect to get on with it being such a crunch game – I guessed it would be more likely to happen if we were two or three ahead, but it was a dream come true.
“I found out the day before that I’d be in the squad, and I always had the hope that I might get on. We had an attack with Amad on the ball and I was screaming for it! But I’m looking forward to when that opportunity does come.”
Evidently highly rated by all at the Academy of Light, Watson has gained international recognition in recent months too with several England Under-17 caps.
He is expected to feature for our Under-18s in a crucial potential title decider at Manchester City on Saturday, before joining up with Tony Mowbray’s first-team squad for Sunday’s trip to West Bromwich Albion.
Watson outlined how his previous ambitions are now being ticked off and shed into even more aspirational aims.
“I’m just focusing on the rest of this season and trying to push on as much as possible.
“I would say this season has been my best one so far, definitely. At the start of the season I set myself goals and targets which I’ve achieved, like making my England U17 debut, making my Sunderland debut, the U18s fighting for the league and becoming a regular in the U21s.
“My ambition moving forward is to get as many first-team minutes as possible, and carry on improving my numbers. I’ve managed to get double figures for goals and assists this season, but next I want to do it at a higher level.”