Quinn makes youth pledge
Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has promised that the club will not neglect youth development.
Last Updated: 26/06/10 7:03pm
Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has promised that the club will not neglect youth development despite a busy summer in the transfer market.
Manager Steve Bruce wants to evolve his side into a significant force in the Premier League and is aiming to add quality and flair to his hard-working and efficient squad.
Paraguay international Cristian Riveros has already been signed and Sunderland are reported to be pursuing injured Germany international Heiko Westermann.
But Quinn insists that, amid transfer negotiations, there will remain a commitment to developing home-grown talent on Wearside after last season's emergence of Jordan Henderson and David Meyler.
Quinn told the Sunderland Echo: "When I first got involved in the club, the youth side of things was an area that had become neglected and not resourced as it should have been. The club had prioritised other areas at the time as the first team struggled.
"But we saw things like Middlesbrough picking up some of the best young players from our area and we've been determined to change that.
"We've supported the youth Academy strongly, where the likes of Ged McNamee and Kevin Ball have done an absolutely fantastic job and now we're seeing the dividends of that.
"It's an incredibly important area for our club and ultimately our aim is to have a steady stream of players coming through to push for first-team places - just like Jordan Henderson and David Meyler did this season."
Bruce said: "One of the best things about my first season in charge was Jordan Henderson seizing his chance with both hands. The young lad was terrific and fans love to see a local lad coming through.
"The first time I saw him in training I thought he had fantastic potential and I took him and David Meyler to our training camp in Portugal last summer.
"David didn't make an impact until the New Year in the first team but people forget he picked up a serious ankle injury in Portugal and then another one just as he was on the verge of returning.
"David is injured right now but he's a tough lad and a determined character and I'm sure he'll be back.
"Then we have Jack Colback and Martyn Waghorn who both won Player of the Season honours on season-long loans at Ipswich Town and Leicester City.
"Both of them will come into my plans for the first-team squad next season.
"I'm not looking at having a first-team squad much bigger than 23 or 25 next season and I expect them all to be in it."