Sunderland's academy star reveals what he enjoys most about Hartlepool United loan experience

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Zak Johnson is looking to kick on with Hartlepool United after extending his loan deal from Sunderland.

The Black Cats academy star recently prolonged his stay with Hartlepool until the New Year after impressing enough during his initial month-long deal.

The teenager joined Pools in September and made his debut for the club in the 2-0 home defeat to Solihull Moors.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Johnson featured in six of the seven games he was available for after completing the move from Wearside before John Askey extended his stay until January with the defender already establishing himself as one Hartlepool’s key defenders.

Sunderland defender Zak Johnson is enjoying his loan experience with Hartlepool United.Sunderland defender Zak Johnson is enjoying his loan experience with Hartlepool United.
Sunderland defender Zak Johnson is enjoying his loan experience with Hartlepool United.

And while the youngster has shared his delight at being able to stay with the club over the coming months, Johnson admits it is about Pools being able to turn around their form as opposed to him being able to develop his game further within senior football.

"I’m really happy to extend it until January, I think these first few games have been a real step forward in my development and I think in every game I’m learning and developing new things,” Johnson said after agreeing his new loan deal.

"I’m really enjoying my time with the lads, they’ve made me feel really welcome and I’m really happy to continue that journey with them until January and see where things end up.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We’ve got to get more points, that’s the main thing,” he added.

"I can talk about myself and say I want to develop and I want to improve and get game time, but the most important thing is points.

"I’ve come to Hartlepool, it’s a big club, and we have high expectations and the most important thing is getting them three points and building from there.”

And it’s that demand for winning which has intrigued Johnson the most having moved out of academy football with the Black Cats.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Johnson captained England’s under-18s in the summer and has made a small number of appearances for Sunderland’s first team in the likes of the EFL Trophy and the Carabao Cup in recent years, but the week-to-week nature and demand for victories with Hartlepool is something which was key behind Johnson wanting to extend his stay.

Read More
HUFC midfielder not ready to give up on promotion chase

"It’s the thing I’ve enjoyed the most in terms of being able to go into a game and understanding there’s a real significance to it for the fans, for yourself and for the manager and the team around you,” said Johnson.

"There’s a real importance to that because, ultimately, development football is just about how you can develop from each game and learn new things – win, lose or draw it’s about moving onto the next one, whereas here there’s an importance to every game and that puts a pressure on every game which I’m really privileged to have to handle.

“I didn’t know what to expect going in because I’ve never been outside of Sunderland before,” Johnson admitted.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I think I’ve got a real buzz off coming out and playing in front of the fans, [I know results aren’t what we wanted] but for me personally I feel like it’s a real step forward into understanding men’s football and I think that knock-back of defeat is only motivation for us to try and push on. So straight away getting brought into that is something I’ve enjoyed.”