Joel Asoro has all the attributes required to be big a success at Sunderland.
That was the message from Black Cats team-mate and compatriot Seb Larsson as the Swede sensation prepares to make another step forward in his education.
He made a real impression, not just on the manager, because we saw a boy who was prepared to work really hard and he has the talent too.Seb Larsson
Asoro, still just 17, looks set to play this evening for Sweden in their European U21 Championship qualifier in Estonia.
The teenage striker has already caught they eye at Sunderland, during the club’s pre-season camp in France, which led to him to becoming the club’s youngest Premier League player when he came on as a sub in the derby defeat to Middlesbrough in August.
Larsson has seen Asoro at close quarters and explained he possesses not just the talent but the right attitude and the capacity to work hard.
“I knew about him even before he broke through with us,” said the 31-year-old.
“The first time I saw him was when he broke through in France.
“He made a real impression, not just on the manager, because we saw a boy who was prepared to work really hard and he has the talent too.
“It has been a great start to the season for him now he has to keep working hard.”
Sunderland seem to be successfully managing the gifted youngster they brought to WEarside in the summer of 2015.
Yes, he featured against Boro – coming on late in the game for another Academy product Duncan Watmore – and then made a second-half appearance on the EFL Cup win at QPR.
However, the club have continued to use him predominately in the U23 side – he scored the team’s goal in last Friday’s 1-1 draw at Cardiff City in the Premier League Cup.
Larsson believes playing for Sweden U21 is a great place to develop further as a player.
But he explained that Asoro becoming the youngest Swede to play in the Premier League was always going to turn him into an overnight star.
“When somebody so young makes his debut, it becomes big news back home,” said the seasoned international, who is currently working his way back to fitness after knee surgery.
“There is a buzz in Sweden about him.
“After he started for us in France people quickly heard he was involved over there.
“He was doing well, he scored and people got interested.
“The Premier league is the most watched league in the world, everyone watches it.
“So when a young Swedish guy makes his debut at 17 then of course it is big news back home.
“He has done well for Sweden Under-21s but he has to keep working because there will be ups and downs along the way.”