We’ve taken a look through the Premier League era at three players who flourished in the early stages of their careers at Sunderland and have gone on to have fantastic careers. We will celebrate some of their highlights for the Black Cats.
When Jordan Henderson lifted the Premier League title last season for Liverpool, many Sunderland fans would have felt a sense of pride. The midfielder spent 13 years with the club, progressing through the youth ranks to the senior team.
Henderson soon became an important player for Sunderland, particularly in the 2010/11 campaign when he helped his hometown club finish 10th. That was the season where he really matured on the pitch and it was enough for Liverpool to come in the following summer to snap up his services.
The England international gave his absolute all for the shirt, as he does now for Liverpool and his country. Maybe one day before he retires, he will return to the Stadium of Light for another spell at the club.
For now, Henderson will be trying desperately to help his side finish in the Champions League places this season. Liverpool are 4/7 in the Premier League betting for a top four finish. With the former Sunderland man helping to inspire their recent run of results, they will fancy their chances.
When he signed for Sunderland in 2010, striker Asamoah Gyan broke the club’s transfer record. The Ghanaian did not disappoint in the North East as he immediately hit the ground running.
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One of Gyan’s highlights was his 94th-minute equaliser against Newcastle in January of his opening season. That goal prevented the Magpies from doing the double over Sunderland.
Sadly, Gyan left the club just three games into the 2011/12 season to move to the UAE. If he had stayed in the Premier League, he had the potential to prove himself to be one of the best finishers in the league.
The two-time Ghana Player of the Year featured at three World Cups for his country. He is still playing today for Legon Cities in Ghana. His time at Sunderland was brief, but he left fans with a lot of great memories.
England international Jordan Pickford is another player who is a great example of how Sunderland’s academy has performed in recent years. He joined the club as an eight-year-old and progressed into an outstanding shot-stopper.
Pickford made his debut for Sunderland in 2016 at the age of 20. The following season his performances were enough for him to be shortlisted on the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
It was quite clear that Pickford was going to be England’s number one goalkeeper at some stage. At Everton, he has continued to progress to become one of the best in the Premier League. Gareth Southgate has a lot of talented options to choose from but he seems to favour the former Sunderland man over them all.
Let’s hope it is not long before Sunderland are back in the Premier League and giving the opportunity to more players to showcase their skills.