Lee Johnson believes that Dan Neil could have a role to play for Sunderland this season.
The 19-year-old midfielder is one of a number of talented young players at the Stadium Of Light right now and the hope is that among others, he could be trusted to play a part in the club’s promotion push next term.
Neil has made eight senior appearances for the Wearsiders in his young career so far, with seven of those coming over the course of the last campaign.
With first team football a priority for the youngster it means that a loan move could be a possibility for him in the coming months, but according to Johnson, the player is likely to be given a chance to prove himself first.
Speaking to Chronicle Live, Johnson said: “It’s an interesting one because we really believe in Dan Neil.
“If you’re going to develop someone they probably need 25 games in the season.
“Obviously, we can 100% guarantee him the four in the early cup games and then it’s up to him.
“He’s close enough [to first-team selection] for me to want to keep him close, but he’s good enough to go and play, and get the league games.
“It is always delicate because it’s only an injury here or a good cup performance there and he’s right in it.
“I think, more than likely, I’d probably say that we would keep him with us until Christmas and then reassess.”
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This seems like a very smart choice by Lee Johnson.
Dan Neil is a player with huge potential and the hope will surely be that he can start to tap into that during his time with Sunderland.
First team football will be key and hopefully the player will get a suitable chance in League One and the cup competitions over the coming months, with the option to revisit his future in January.
It’s going to be a big season for Neil and having the backing of the Sunderland head coach will be a huge boost.