Sunderland's Lynden Gooch and Lee Cattermole meet young fans at local leisure centre

Lynden Gooch.
Lynden Gooch.

Two of Sunderland's first-team stars swapped the training ground for a local leisure centre to deliver a coaching session for the city's youngsters.

Lynden Gooch and Lee Cattermole visited the Raich Carter Sports Centre, where they were greeted by children aged between five and 13 during their half-term holidays.

The pair also took part in a Q&A and photo session at the centre, which is managed by leisure provider Everyone Active.

As part of its Active Kids Programme, the company, which has a partnership with Sunderland AFC, aims to increase health and fitness across the area.

Everyone Active provide a range of activities for young children, with each of its four Sunderland centres attracting around 40 kids per day.

At the event, both Gooch and Cattermole stressed the importance of the scheme, and encouraging the next generation of fans.

"Obviously it’s massive," said Gooch, 22, who has made 12 appearances for the Black Cats this campaign.

"It’s good to see kids playing football of course, especially at this age when kids are on phones already. It’s good to see kids out and being active."

Cattermole, who has been at the club since 2009, added: "You ask any of the players, no one sees it as a chore, it’s a nice thing to do.

"It’s great to get away from the training ground and get out and be amongst a different environment.

"They look like they’re having a good time and it’s nice for them to be in social surroundings with different kids, probably different schools, and different areas so it's nice for them to mix and good for them in the future as well."

Craig Buchanan helped organise the session and praised the club for their support.

He also hopes to set up similar events in the future.

"It's absolutely fantastic, the kids will love it and remember it for a long time. They (Gooch and Cattermole) have been really engaging, " said Buchanan.

"We've got a partnership with Sunderland AFC so we're hoping they'll be along again in the future."