Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman thinks Dan Neil is a great representation for young academy hopefuls after signing a new contract with the Black Cats. The 21-year-old midfielder has extended his stay at the club until the summer of 2026, having attracted interest from several Premier League teams.
Neil enjoyed a stellar campaign last season and turned heads during Sunderland’s impressive Carabao Cup run that culminated in defeat to Arsenal. The Black Cats youngster has barely made 100 appearances at such a young age and is being touted as a star for the future, destined for the Premier League.
During his time with the club, Neil has taken home the personal accolades of the North East Football Writers Young Player of the Year award for March 2022, the EFL Young Player of the Month for December 2021 and has earned the England recognition at Under-20 level.
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Speakman said: “Dan’s progression has been impressive and he is an integral part of our team. It’s great to see players thrive in our academy program and Dan is a great representation of what young players can achieve here.
“He is an exceptionally talented midfielder who is only getting better and naturally this does not go unnoticed. He is immensely passionate about Sunderland and understands and believes in what we are building so everyone at SAFC is delighted that he has reaffirmed his commitment to the club.”
Tony Mowbray has also spoken highly of the young midfielder, stating that he was destined for the top flight. The Black Cats boss previously told reporters: “I really believe Dan Neil is on a journey that will take him to the Premier League and hopefully this club.”
“If it’s not this club, and we can’t get there fast enough, I think the Premier League will call for him. He’s an incredible human being who wants to be a footballer and he listens to everything you say and wants.” improve.
“He sits back and watches his clips, what he did well and what he didn’t do well. He’s a kid on a journey really, and it’s going to be hard to stop him.”
“My job, our job as a coaching staff, is to help him and make him understand that he has to have both aspects in his game. In my opinion, the best midfielders are the ones who can do both: they have some steel and they also look.” silky when they have the ball and make lovely passes, but then when the ball breaks they can break into a tackle and come out with the ball.
“Dan is learning those aspects, he is still a very young man and at some point he will become a very good footballer.”