With all eyes now firmly focused on who Sunderland will be bringing in this summer, there has also been a strong recognition lately of the impact the younger players at the club have had in helping get Sunderland back into the second tier.
Sporting director Speakman, when asked about the influx of young players coming through, said: "After what happened to Sunderland in the last five years, no other club in this country is going to go through that period of time and retain a category one academy. It’s unique.
“Because it means so much to the people that they’ve got that environments for those elite players to go to in the North-East.
"Kyril (Louis-Dreyfus) has absolutely fundamentally put academy football, youth development, young players, aspirational culture at the heart of what we are doing. Naturally, we want to see those players come through.
“You’ve got Patto [Anthony Patterson] that we laid out a development programme for. He’s come through and we’ve given him loads of different experiences.
"He’s developed, he’s worked his way into the team on his own merit and performances and he’s out there on Wembley as another local boy.
“We’ve got a lovely balance in the group around some of our young players and our senior group. We’ve got to try and maintain that balance moving forward."