Former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips says those associated with the club will be ‘fuming’ that they did not benefit from the talents of striker Joe Hugill during his time at the club.
Hugill left the Black Cats to join Manchester United’s youth setup last summer, and has since made a big impression at the Premier League giants.
The 17-year-old has scored six goals in four games for United’s Under 18s and nine in 12 for the club’s Under 23s so far this season, prompting manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to suggest that the teenager could soon be handed an opportunity with the senior side.
That is something that Phillips believes will be hard to take for Sunderland supporters, given Hugill never really came close to breaking into the first-team at The Stadium of Light.
Reacting to those revelations from Solskjaer, Phillips – who scored 130 goals in 235 appearances in all competitions for Sunderland – told Football Insider: “I can believe it, just because of what’s gone on at Sunderland over the last 18 months in terms of their best young players just to make a few quid.
“I can believe it but if I’m a Sunderland supporter now, and I am a Sunderland fan, I’m fuming because you’ve got a player on your books there that could potentially come into your squad this year and score you goals to get you out the league.”
Despite that, it seems Phillips is still hopeful things work out well for Hugill at Old Trafford, with the ex-England international going on to add: “It’s not good news, is it really, for the fans? It doesn’t surprise me but good luck to the kid, he’s gone to a big club and he’s shining so I hope it works out for him.”
You can certainly understand why Phillips and others Sunderland fans might be frustrated with the way things have worked out with regards to Hugill.
Given how he has performed for United at youth level, it does seem as though the young striker could have been a really useful player for the Black Cats in their League One promotion battle this season.
Indeed, when you consider the fact that several others young players have left Sunderland recently, you do wonder whether they have missed out on other potential assets from within their ow ranks, something which does reflect particularly well on the club, as Phillips suggests here.