Sunderland favourite Kevin Phillips believes that Josh Hawkes has the ability to make his mark on the first-team next season.
The attacking midfielder joined the Black Cats from Hartlepool last year, having established himself as one of the top talents in non-league football.
However, the 22-year-old has had to be patient as he looks to feature on Wearside, with his minutes this season coming in the U23 side. And, he has shone at that level, scoring 11 goals and registering five assists for the development side in 17 games.
So, there is high hopes for Hawkes and Phillips told Football Insider that the player could potentially be involved with Lee Johnson’s side next season.
“He is at the perfect age to come into the first team. Only Lee Johnson can make that decision but I would expect him to be involved next season. They need to start blooding these young talented players.
“His numbers for the Under-23s speak for themselves and I am sure he has the potential to make an impact next year. I am sure he is being talked about in meetings at the training ground.”
Which club did Sunderland sign each of these 25 players from?
There’s a lot of hype with several Sunderland players and Hawkes is someone who is certainly catching the eye following his performances for the U23s.
As Phillips states, his numbers at that level are incredible, so the natural progression is going into the first-team.
Of course, Sunderland will hope to be a Championship side by next season, which would make it harder for Hawkes to break in, but it will be interesting to see what Johnson decides to do with the player after a full pre-season.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.