The inside track on hot Sunderland prospect Elliot Embleton and how he could impact Sheffield United cup clash
Sunderland fans could see hot prospect Elliot Embleton involved in tonight's Carabao Cup third round clash at Sheffield United.
And the England Under-20 international - capped close to 40 times by every national age group team from U17 upwards - has been backed to cope at the highest level by those who saw him complete his first full season of senior football in 2018-19.
Sports journalist Liam Wood saw Embleton play home and away during a loan spell in League Two with Grimsby Town, which saw him score four times in 30 appearances and become the Mariners' main playmaker.
And Wood, a reporter for Grimsby Live, believes Embleton is potentially ready - both physically and technically - to become a Sunderland first-team regular.
"Embleton emerged as one of the most talented players in League Two last season," said Wood.
“The division has a strong emphasis on physicality – but Embleton more than coped with that and wasn’t afraid to mix it when he could.
“His balance and low centre of gravity helped when he was on the ball, which is clearly a key feature of his game, both out wide or through the middle.
“He probably became a more complete player by the end of the season. But such was his impact at the start, his spell was ultimately about how Grimsby used their most creative player.”
Embleton picked up the Mariners' 2018-19 goal of the season award for his curling effort against MK Dons in the FA Cup.
“Given that he was still learning his craft, there were times when he drifted in and out of games," Wood added. "But the sheer volume of games – and minutes – was probably the most pleasing thing to see from a Sunderland perspective.
“Sunderland are clearly aware of his potential; his pedigree underlined by the fact he has progressed through the system at youth international level too.
“I would imagine his biggest challenge is making his way past the undoubted midfield competition at the club.”