Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has told the Chronicle that if it wasn't for injury Duncan Watmore would have already been in his first-team this season.
Watmore has been one of the Black Cats' most notable performers for their development sides, but he is still waiting to receive his Premier League debut.
The 21-year-old has generally been overlooked this season, in favour of more experienced options, and Poyet puts this down to an injury the attacker picked up before Christmas.
Watmore was ruled out for a considerable length of time after breaking his leg and Poyet suggests that this is what has cost him any chance of an opportunity in their senior side so far.
“I think he was becoming an important player and then he got injured, unfortunately, before Christmas,” Poyet said.
“That was a big disappointment because he was out for two months-plus. He’s only had a couple of games of 20, 30 minutes in his recovery (for the under-21s). But it (his Premier League debut) will come."
Watmore will be buoyed by Poyet's words and it appears that he could still have a part to play in the remainder of the Wearsiders' campaign.
Sunderland have found goals hard to come by this season and with Emmauele Giaccherini sidelined, Adam Johnson suspended and Ricky Alvarez struggling for form, Watmore looks an appealing option.
The rapid wide-man was on the substitutes' bench recently against Manchester United and it is likely that he could be seen on the senior squad's team-sheet again soon, if Poyet is true to his word.