Sunderland is the winner of the trophy for the first time in 48 years. It is indeed a phrase to savor.
With the Mackems now in third place in Ligue 1, there are plenty of reasons to be positive and hopeful for the future.
Lee Johnson has led a fantastic revival in the North East and with Kyril Louis-Dreyfus now owner of the club, negativity and bad vibes have been eradicated.
The Frenchman already has a trophy to his name and others could follow suit if they win a promotion.
It’s the number one priority in Sunderland right now, but another is for young talent. Louis-Dreyfus reshaped the structure of the academy and a number of young players were tested at the club.
He’s desperate to improve the academy and who can blame him? The Black Cats U23 team did not win a game last season.
We got a glimpse of the future just by watching the Sunderland bench on Sunday at Wembley. They might have a number of injuries, but it was nice to see Dan Neil, Ollie Younger, Jack Diamond and Benji Kimpioka among the replacements.
Should Hawkes be exhausted?
However, one name that wasn’t but deserves a run in the not too distant future is Josh Hawkes. The 21-year-old was signed from Hartlepool a few months ago but hasn’t seen much top action since.
Hawkes was on the bench for the game against Rochdale a few weeks ago and was given minutes upon their EFL Trophy success. That being said, despite his injuries, he hasn’t been able to find his way into Johnson’s plans enough.
Judging by his form for the club’s Under-23 team, that should change. The attacking midfielder, who can also play on the wing, was a breath of fresh air for Elliott Dickman’s side.
He has scored six goals and recorded three assists in 13 Premier League 2 outings. Hawkes has long been a scoring midfielder and in 2018/19 he hit the back of the net nine times for Hartlepool in the National League.
Speaking about his qualities to Sunderland’s Roker Report blog, Hartlepool expert Dan Patton said: “Josh is a player with clear abilities, which was most evident in his first season with the club after scoring nine goals. in the middle of the field.
Patton continued, “His best position is an attacking midfielder role, but he can also play a wide attacking role if needed. He is a player who will not hesitate to shoot, whatever the distance, and who brings real energy to the midfield.
Having a midfielder who can take late points in the penalty and score goals is a fantastic attribute to have in your team. Certainly, with such qualities, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Johnson appealed to him soon.
After all, Diamond’s poor performance against Accrington on Wednesday night will make him look over his shoulder. The youngster managed just three assists and 18 touches of the ball before being dragged to halftime in his 2-0 win.
The future may be bright for Diamond, but Hawkes is someone who could compete with him for a place on the senior squad.
AND in other news, less touches than Burge: The SAFC gem that made 3 passes all night left Johnson badly …