Sunderland 19-year-old Dan Neil has claimed there was no talk on him leaving the club on loan in the summer due to his impressive performances in pre-season.
The Black Cats academy product has been a mainstay in Lee Johnson’s side this term and started all eight of their games in the 2021/22 campaign – providing a goal and two assists in that period.
Neil is a midfielder by trade but has proven his versatility to Johnson by featuring at left-back as well, though with Denver Hume now back amongst the squad it seems the teenager can focus entirely on influencing games in the centre of the park.
This season has already proven the most productive of his career at the Stadium of Light and it seems he’s been part of the manager’s plans since the summer, with the South Shields-born player revealing there were never talks over a loan move away despite him struggling for minutes in previous seasons.
Speaking to Chronicle Live, he said: “I don’t think there was any talk of a loan move for anyone and it was just basically ‘show us you are ready to take the shirt’.
“Obviously I did well in pre-season so there was no talk of a loan at all.”
Neil added: “Obviously I did well in pre-season so there was no talk of a loan at all.”
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It’s been a strong start to the season for Sunderland and the performances of Neil have been among the many positives.
The 19-year-old has looked like a player with a bright future for a little while but struggled for opportunities last term and it would not have been at all surprising to see him sent out on loan.
However, it appears Neil was never told there was a chance he could be leaving the club on loan with Johnson deciding to keep him amongst the squad.
That move has proven a masterstroke and is one that the Black Cats boss deserves credit for.
At Bristol City, Johnson helped a number of young players develop and he already seems to have had a impressive impact on Neil.