“They've (Sunderland) got no kids coming through, and that needs to change,” Merson wrote in The Daily Star. “It’s the same at Newcastle, they've got nobody. That's a big part of the country.
“They need to start bringing young players through and giving them a chance. It's no good bringing in a manager just to keep them up. They need to think long term.”
Both Newcastle and Sunderland are in the Premier League relegation zone at the moment, and there are concerns that the duo could get relegated to the Championship at the end of the season.
Sunderland attacker Duncan Watmore is a promising young player who is likely to gain in importance as the season progresses.
The 21-year-old can play as a winger or as a forward, and he is certainly a very talented footballer.
At Newcastle, there are 19-year-old winger Rolando Aarons and 20-year-old defender Kevin Mbabu, both of whom have already played first-team football this season.
Adam Armstrong, 18, is another promising young Newcastle player who is currently on loan at League One outfit Coventry City.