Sunderland boss Chris Coleman tells young prospects to earn first-team place

Joel Asoro.
Joel Asoro.

Chris Coleman has told Sunderland’s youngsters that he will have no issues throwing them into Championship action, if they prove to him they are good enough to thrive.

Joel Asoro’s first team career on Wearside appeared to be stagnating, but an injury crisis has allowed the Swede to push his way back into the matchday squad for the first two games of the Welshman’s tenure.

He has come off the bench on both occasions, delivering a crucial assist for fellow youngster George Honeyman at Burton Albion.

Ethan Robson and Lynden Gooch have also featured, while Thomas Beadling was part of the squad for the trip to Aston Villa.

Coleman said: “If they’re good enough and I think they can handle where we are, I don’t care how old they are.

“As long as it won’t be detrimental to their progression and future, I don’t care how old they are. If they’re good enough they’re in, simple as that.”

Gooch’s performance at Aston Villa drew special praise from Coleman, while Josh Maja is another youngster set to push for a first team spot in the near future. Maja has not been available for selection after suffering a knee injury during a pre-season win over Bradford City, but he played 60 minutes for the U23s against Swansea City on Sunday.

Coleman has been impressed by the former Manchester City man, saying last week: “He’s a good goalscorer and he’s impressed me with what I’ve seen so far.

“It’s a bit early for us in terms of his fitness, but yeah he looks okay that boy. At that age they can look good with their age group but then when they come up against the men as it were, they’re not as comfortable with that environment.

“But for what I’ve seen of him, he’s not put off by that at all.”