Kevin Ball comments on Duncan Watmore’s next step for Sunderland

Sunderland Stadium of Light

Kevin Ball wants to see Watmore fight for his place in the Sunderland first-team.

Watmore has been the only positive of Sunderland’s start to the Premier League season, and academy coach Kevin Ball has told the club website that he wants to see the striker fight for his first-team place after netting his first senior goal.

Ball said: “Did he perform well when he came on? Absolutely. He displayed passion, enthusiasm and quality and he’s scored a goal at the end of the game. Now he has to earn the right to be in the manager’s team week in week out and that’s not just going to come to him, so he has to keep performing in training and when he gets the opportunity to play take it like he did on Saturday.”

Watmore, 21, made a 20 minute cameo for the Black Cats at the weekend, scoring Sunderland’s goal in a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Norwich City.

He was the only bright spark for Dick Advocaat’s side, and after netting the goal it would be no surprise to see him retain his place in the first-team set-up.

Watmore has made just two appearances for the club, but his performance level against Norwich showed a desire to fight for the Wearside outfit, which is something many of the players are not showing.

Of course, he is still not the same quality as the likes of Steven Fletcher or Jermain Defoe, but Advocaat would be unwise to leave him out of matchday selections in the coming weeks.

Ball wants to see Watmore retain his place in the senior set-up, but has admitted that he needs to keep fighting and working hard to impress the head coach if he is to make the step up consistently.

Watmore may be one of the redeeming factors of this season for Sunderland, and if he continues to show the passion that he has recently, it will be no trouble for him to break into the first-team on a regular basis.

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