Football writers' awards: Dan Neil named North East Young Player of the Year

Dan Neil has been named the North East Football Writers Association's Young Player of the Year for 2021.

Neil was a part of the side that won the 2021 Papa John’s Trophy, but it is during the current campaign that the midfielder has established himself as a key first-team player.

The Academy of Light graduate has enjoyed an outstanding breakthrough season on Wearside, scoring three goals and registering eight assists in 33 senior appearances.

Neil’s performances haven’t gone unnoticed, and his form has led to widespread recognition in the form of an international call-up and several other accolades.

The midfielder made his England Under-20 debut in November against Portugal before ending 2021 on a high and collecting the EFL Young Player of the Month award for December.

After receiving the accolade, Neil said: “I’m honoured to win this award because I know how big it is within the North East, but it was a surprise because this is my first real season playing first-team football and I know the players that have won it in the past. Of course, it means more because it is a local award and there is a lot of top talent within the region, so to be recognised as one of the best is a real privilege.”

Neil becomes the first Sunderland player to receive the award since current Everton goalkeeper and England international Jordan Pickford, who won the accolade in 2016 and 2017.  

The 20-year-old be presented with the award at the North East Football Writers Association’s annual awards dinner on Sunday 6 March at the Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham. 

Tickets are now on sale and further details are available by calling Claire Stephen on 0191 375 3080 or by emailing

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