Sunderland youngster Rees Greenwood has informed the Chronicle that Sam Allardyce is always encouraging the club’s youngsters to perform well in training, to prove that they are ready to receive first-team opportunities.
Allardyce has expressed a desire to start help Sunderland producing more players for their own youth academy.
The 61-year-old boss has promoted a number of the Wearsiders’ brightest prospects into the first-team since taking charge, and Greenwood has been one of the beneficiaries from Allardyce’s faith in youth.
Greenwood has been training with the senior squad for months now, and he was handed his debut in Sunderland’s 2-2 draw with Watford last weekend.
In that match at Vicarage Road, a number of the Black Cats’ youngsters were handed opportunities - with the side’s survival confirmed.
And Greenwood is now aiming to break into the first-team on a more regular basis, after getting his first taste of competitive action.
“He tells us to do well in training,” said Greenwood. “He says that we will all get a chance because he thinks we are good enough. We have to show him that he is right and that we can be in and around the first-team picture a lot more.
“Of every manager that I have seen here over the years, this manager has had the biggest impact on the academy.
“I would like to think I can stay in and around the first-team picture next season, but that’s not up to me.”
Allardyce has already promoted Duncan Watmore and Jordan Pickford into his first-team since taking charge, and more could be set to follow.
Tommy Robson made his debut alongside Greenwood against Watford, and George Honeyman was also involved.