Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman appeared on the latest edition of the SAFC Unfiltered podcast and spent some time talking about Daniel Neil’s future at The Stadium of Light.
This comes after it emerged that Black Cats manager Lee Johnson changed his mind on sending Neil on loan last month.
Per ChronicleLive, the 39-year-old coach initially intended to send him on loan, however, following a positive display in the EFL Trophy versus Port Vale, which saw Neil play just the first 45 minutes, Johnson explained that he was no longer “fully comfortable” with sending Neil on loan and the player didn’t end up leaving the North East club.
Johnson also went on to share that he has high hopes for Neil.
During this podcast, Speakman echoed those sentiments, explaining that the 19-year-old is a “really exciting prospect” and revealed that he believes the Black Cats gem has got a big future at The Stadium of Light.
He said (17:45):
“I think Dan is a really, really exciting prospect for the football club. It’s really going to be important for us to be able to manage that.
“Dan’s going to be an integral part of this football club for the short, medium and long term. I think that’s really, really, really important. So, it’s trying to make sure that we can map out and plan his best route (18:52).
“Let’s not rule out Dan Neil playing more league games to start off with, and that’s up to Dan Neil to prove to the coach that he’s above one or two of those other players that you spoke about” (19:12).
Does Neil have the potential to play in the Premier League?
TIF Thoughts on what Speakman said about Neil…
Neil is yet to make his league debut for Sunderland, with all of his first-team appearances coming in the EFL Trophy thus far.
However, judging by what Speakman said, it seems as though the teenager could have a decent role to play for the North East club in League One before this term concludes, and it will be interesting to see if that does indeed become the case.
It’s clear from both the sporting director and the manager that Neil is very well thought of, so perhaps his development is something that the Black Cats faithful need to keep a close eye on.
Maybe it won’t be too long before he makes the step up into the senior fold.