Three Sunderland youngsters to watch in 2016/17, including Jordan Pickford

Sunderland's Jordan Pickford

Sunderland have been inactive in the transfer window, but have a host of youngsters who could impress in the Premier League.

With no new arrivals at Sunderland, youth could be forced to play a key role in David Moyes' side.

The Black Cats have had a troubled pre-season, which was disrupted by Sam Allardyce's departure to become the new England manager.

Sunderland manager David Moyes poses

Since Moyes took over, Sunderland are yet to make a breakthrough in the transfer market, which will be worrying for fans as they begin their Premier League campaign in less than two weeks. The Scot will have qualms about giving youth a chance. Current England captain Wayne Rooney made his first professional start whilst playing for Moyes' Everton team.

Many of Sunderland's Under-21 side have featured throughout pre-season, under Allardyce and Moyes, and they may have to be called upon this season as the Wearside team look to avoid another relegation battle. Here are three Sunderland youngsters to watch during this season's Premier League.

Jordan Pickford

Sunderland's Jordan Pickford

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is probably Sunderland's brightest prospect when it comes to their academy. The 22-year-old, born in Washington, will probably start the season as second choice behind Vito Mannone, but will do all he can to force his way into the first team, like he did last year.

Pickford made his Premier League debut away to Tottenham in a 4-1 defeat. Despite conceding four, the youngster did nothing to dent his reputation, with his defenders offering very little protection.

The England Under-21 international was a star in the Championship last season as well, where he kept 12 clean sheets in 24 games whilst on loan at Preston North End.

Tom Robson

Sunderland's Tom Robson

Defender Tom Robson has featured throughout pre-season, and will start the season as backup to left-back Patrick Van Aanholt.

The 20-year-old was given his Premier League debut on the final day last season away to Watford, with Allardyce's side already guaranteeing safety in the previous game.

The pacey full-back has been a consistent figure in Sunderland's Under-21 side since 2014, and signed a new contract with the club in January. 

If Sunderland fail to bring in another left-back, Robson could get a chance to showcase his talents to the Premier League.

Rees Greenwood

Sunderland's Rees Greenwood in action with Watford's Craig Cathcart

Another player who received his debut on the final weekend of the 2015/16 season is Rees Greenwood.

Sunderland have often lacked a creative spark in midfield, and Greenwood could be that spark they have been missing. Joining the club when he was eight years old, Greenwood's pace and versatility could make him a valuable asset to Moyes, who has had no problem with giving youth a chance in the past.

Predominantly a left winger, Greenwood can be deployed as a striker or behind the forward, which may help his cause as he looks to make his mark in the Premier League.

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