Sunderland’s Duncan Watmore primed for impact substitute role

Duncan Watmore.
Duncan Watmore.
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Duncan Watmore will predominantly be used as an impact substitute during his initial exposure to the Premier League, despite being handed his first start by Sam Allardyce.

Watmore became the first player since Jack Colback to graduate from the starting XI in the Sunderland Under-21 side to the first-team after the 21-year-old made his full Premier League bow against Southampton earlier this month.

He started against Southampton to see what he could do.

But Watmore was more impressive when he came off the bench in Monday night’s win at Crystal Palace and is likely to remain among the substitutes for today’s visit of Stoke City.

Allardyce sees Watmore eventually being a key figure in the starting XI, but believes that at this stage of his development, his footballing education is best-served as a substitute.

“He started against Southampton to see what he could do,” said Allardyce.

“I thought he did okay. But I think at this moment in time, he’ll stay more of an impact player off the substitutes bench.

“Eventually though, I see him as a player who can start on a regular basis, if he can carry on his progression.”

Watmore’s development was recognised last weekend when he penned a new four-year contract at the Stadium of Light after his previous deal was due to expire next summer.

There was huge interest in the forward from both the Premier League and Championship, albeit Watmore, himself, was always keen to remain at Sunderland.

But after assessing the squad he inherited from Dick Advocaat, Allardyce immediately made Watmore’s contract situation one of his priorities after being impressed by the hunger a player released by Manchester United aged 12 has shown in reaching the Premier League from non-league Altrincham.

“It’s nice to see someone who has the courage to not give up,” added Allardyce.

“There’s too many kids who give up now and pack football in after getting released by the big clubs.

“He went and carried on his education, went to play for Altrincham and didn’t want to quit football.

“He’s back here again and looking like he could be a decent Premier League player.”