Sunderland youngster George Honeyman has told the Sunderland Echo that he is enjoying working with Sam Allardyce at the Stadium of Light.
The 21-year-old is regarded as one of the best prospects in the Black Cats’ current youth set-up, but he has found chances hard to come by in recent years.
Sunderland have been guilty of blocking their top prospect’s path to the first-team in recent years, but Allardyce has shown more willingness to give his side’s youngsters a chance.
And Honeyman said: “I’ve been at Sunderland since I was 11 and we have had a lot of different managers and things change with each one.
“Under the gaffer at the moment there is a better pathway than there has been to get into the first team squad.
“People like Robbie Stockdale (first team coach) and Paul Bracewell (assistant manager), who we have all worked with at Under-21 level, are now involved with the first team.
“Our gaffer (Andy Welsh) and Ged (McNamee, academy manager) are always backing us to go up there and that really helps.
“Duncan Watmore proves it.
“He was with us last year and it just shows if you put in performances then you do get noticed and there is a lot of contact with the first team and coaches.
“It is down to yourself at the end of the day, if you are good enough, you will get a chance.”
Honeyman’s only appearance for Sunderland so far came in the FA Cup back in February 2015.
The attacking midfielder has otherwise gained experience while out on a loan spell with non-league side Gateshead earlier in the campaign.
Honeyman made nine appearances for Gateshead, and he managed to score once during that time.
Since returning the youngster has seen the likes of Duncan Watmore and Jordan Pickford receive regular opportunities at the Stadium of Light, and he will be hoping to follow in the duo’s footsteps over the coming years.