The ball is in Benji Kimpioka’s court according to Jack Ross, who states it’s up to the youngster to keep working hard to earn further first-team opportunities.
Just 18, Kimpioka made his league debut in Tuesday evening’s action-packed encounter with Peterborough United, and he caught the eye during a late cameo.
A mazy run got the Stadium of Light on their feet and he fired up the crowd by urging them to make some noise, showing he has the confidence and belief to tackle senior football head on.
But it’s not all about confidence, and Ross urged the Swede to stay focussed and keep working hard in order to force his way into the first-team plans.
“Benji is an enigma at times,” said the Sunderland manager.
“He has really good attributes to his game, so it’s about trying to piece it all together.”
He continued: “He only played half of the [under-23] game on Monday night, as we knew he was going to be on the bench and may have to play a part.
“I’m delighted for him that he's make his league debut, as it’s a big thing for a young man.
“Even in those few minutes on the park he showed he’s got attributes that, if he keeps working hard when he’s with the under-23s, he’s got every chance of getting more opportunities as the season unfolds.”