SUNDERLAND starlet Duncan Watmore is being fast-tracked for success by Gus Poyet.
The head coach sees the 20-year-old as a potential Premier League player of the future and this week the attacker has been training with the first team as part of his footballing education.
Watmore has caught the eye with his skill, speed and directness and Poyet says the former Altrincham player’s pure enthusiasm and desire to improve is a tonic for coaches.
“It’s great because it’s so nice to see him playing and training,” Poyet said.
“He’s the player who you want at the football club.
“He’s got plenty to learn but he’s desperate to do it.
“We had, I don’t know how many clubs call us, but we believe he needs to be here and I think he agrees as well.
“It’s important that he plays football at a better level, but at the same time, he needs to learn what we want.
“He is training with us throughout the international break, where he will learn the things he needs to do week-in, week-out.
“He’s been playing up front for the Under 21s and he’s been impressive – a nightmare really for the opposition.
“But he’s a great lad and it’s so nice to be able to talk to a person like that.”
Watmore, one of half-a-dozen players to have started all five Under 21 games so far this season, has just signed an extended contract keeping him at the club until 2016.
And it remains to be seen whether he will spend any of that time out on loan or be kept close to the first team squad.
As revealed earlier this month, a firm loan enquiry from League One side Scunthorpe United was rejected by Sunderland.
And Poyet said that unless something special turns up, he plans to keep Watmore close to the first-team squad at Sunderland.
“I think we are always open to something unique – a Championship club where he’s going to play and you can’t say no,” said the Uruguayan.
“But at the moment, unless it’s something incredible, we want him to stay and train here – if we had had a decent draw in the cups, maybe he would have played.
“This week, one or two players have been training with us and it’s chances for them.
“In Duncan’s case, you always know what you get with him, and that’s good.”