Report: The three youngsters Sunderland believe have first-team futures - including Watmore and Pickford

Sunderland are looking to promote some of their own academy graduates in the near future.

According to the Shields Gazette, Sunderland have identified three academy graduates as players who will have first-team futures at the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats are working hard to reduce the average age of their squad, and they are keen to start promoting from within - looking to their youth system for inspiration. 

Sunderland feel that Duncan Watmore, Jordan Pickford and Tom Beadling are the three jewels in their crown at the moment, and believe the trio will be able to play in the Premier League

Watmore has already received first-team opportunities for Sunderland this season, making four appearances for the Black Cats and scoring twice.

His performances for the Wearsiders' under-21 side have also been particularly impressive, with the attacker recently scoring a hat-trick against Manchester City's development squad.

Pickford, meanwhile, has been gaining experience while out on loan. Sunderland's current number one is Costel Pantilimon, who is highly regarded by the club, but Pickford could displace him in the future. 

The England youth international impressed with Bradford City last season, and he is continuing to develop his reputation at Preston North End this time around. 

Beadling is the lesser known of the trio, as he is yet to make a senior appearance, but the defender has shown his class for Sunderland's youth teams and looks to have plenty of promise. 

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