SUNDERLAND'S Dan Neil has been named North East Football Writers’ Association's Young Player of the Year for 2021.

The midfielder capped a brilliant year by becoming the fourth academy player from the club to win the 13-year-old award, following Jack Colback and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who won it twice.

Last week, Newcastle United winger Allan Saint-Maximin was named the 2021NEFWA Player of the Year, with Durham’s Sarah Robson winning the women’s award. All three will be presented with their awards at a ceremony in Durham in March.

Neil was a key member of Sunderland's Wembley-winning Papa John's Trophy team and has established himself in the Black Cats' first team under Lee Johnson this season. As well as impressing home fans, his performances have also attracted attention from Premier League and Championship clubs.

Neil said: "I am honoured to win this award because I know how big it is within the North-East, but it was a surprise became this is my first real season playing first-team football and I know the players who have won it in the past.

“Of course, it means more because it is a local award and there is a lot of top talent within the region, so to be recognised as one of the best is a real privilege.”

Saint-Maximin, Neil and Robson will be presented with their awards at the NEFWA awards dinner on Sunday, March 6 at Ramside Hall Hotel and Spa in Durham. Last year’s winners - Jonny Howson and Marcus Tavernier - will collect their awards.

Neil’s Sunderland team-mate, Luke O’Nien, will be presented with last year’s Sir Bobby Robson Foundation’s Personality of the Year award, and an announcement on this year’s recipient will be made shortly.   

Tickets are available for the awards dinner at the Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa in Durham on Sunday March 6, and further details are available from Claire Stephen on 0191 375 3080 or