Jack Ross gets a ‘buzz’ from seeing young players improve on the training ground – highlighting Sunderland-linked Celtic winger Lewis Morgan as a prime example.
Sunderland have been credited with a strong interest in a season-long loan deal for the 21-year-old winger, who played under Ross at former club St Mirren.
Morgan is highly-rated but has a lot of competition for a first-team place at the Scottish giants, who won a second successive treble last season.
Should Celtic make him available for loan, then Ross will be keen to at the front of the queue, though they would face strong competition.
Ross got to work on his Sunderland rebuild at the Academy of Light yesterday and, while he has stressed north of the border won’t be the only place he’ll target new signings, he hasn’t ruled out using his Scottish contacts to bolster his options.
The new Sunderland boss has been speaking about the buzz he gets from seeing players improve on the training ground and he highlighted Morgan as a good example of what it takes for young players to carve out a career in the game.
“My experience post-playing, I always wanted to manage,” said Ross.
“I wasn’t that interested in coaching, but they have probably morphed into each other now anyway.
“Managing and coaching were very separate for a long period of time, but now there is a lot more onus on a manager to coach as well.
“Because I coached first, I quickly realised how much I enjoyed that and the buzz I got from it and the reaction I got from the players.
“From my spell at Hearts, there was a lot of young players there now playing in their first team.
“That satisfaction from seeing players get better and to then move on to St Mirren; a player like Lewis Morgan, for example, over a period of 18 months, has gone on such an upward trajectory, he has always had the natural ability.
“Players here will have it. He developed a mindset, a confidence and a steeliness that has taken him to a different level.
“That is the biggest challenge –how you take a strong academy here, take the players from the 18 to 21 bracket and give them the next bit.
“That is the hardest part, that transition from promising young player to proper professional and one that can have a long career.”
Celtic bought 21-year-old Morgan in January and loaned him back to Ross’s Saints, where he finished the campaign strongly as St Mirren won the Scottish Championship.
His form was rewarded with a call-up for Scotland’s summer friendly games in Peru and Mexico. He made his international debut as a late sub in the 2-0 defeat in Lima this week.
With a raft of attacking talent ahead of him in the queue at Celtic, the Hoops could consider loaning Morgan out if they see that as the best route for his development. Morgan plays down the left, where Celtic also have Scott Sinclair and Ryan Christie, back from a loan at Aberdeen.