SATURDAY was a special day for a local lad born in South Shields. Or as Sunderland fans might know Dan Neil as their new midfield maestro.

Neil scored his first professional goal for the club he's followed for all of his life in the 2-1 win and he did it in style.

The 19-year-old showed skill beyond his years to manipulate a bit of space for himself under pressure and let rip from 25 yards out as the ball flew into the right-hand corner.

Neil said: "I look a bit shocked. I think a lot of people in the squad know that my shooting is something I need to work on.

"Scoring my first goal like that I was a bit shocked. Just the feeling and adrenaline rush of scoring in front of 30,000 people is something I’ve dreamed of doing.

"I was just shocked it went in, especially with my left peg.

"My mum, dad and sister were sat together. My nana, here friend and then my dad’s side of the family, my grandma, auntie, uncle, so quite a few were there.

"They are at every game and then my mum and dad go to away game so I’m glad I scored in front of them.

"It’s funny because I sat in the corner that I ran to where I scored my first goal.

"It’s something I’ve dreamed of for a long time and I’ve had to wait a little bit but I’m so glad that went in today and it wasn’t a bad one for my first goal.

"I would have taken anything but to score with my weaker left foot puts a cherry on top of the cake."

Sunderland have produced the goods this season and Neil has played a big role in his breakthrough year.

He's taking his chance in a side with plenty of competition for places but is remaining humble and doesn't want to get carried away in the Sunderland team.

Neil added: "I’ve got a strong family and friends who keep my feet on the ground. All the lads in the changing room keep my feet on the ground.

"It is hard because when you’re reading stuff and they are talking about you and playing for your boyhood club, scoring your first goal, it is tough.

"I have a lot of people around me who will keep my feet on the floor and I just keeping looking forward to the next game to be honest."