TONY Mowbray had a "long conversation" with Manchester United coaches this week and told them that he believes Amad Diallo has the talent to play at the very top level.

What will decide whether the youngster reaches his potential, believes the Sunderland boss, is whether Amad has the personality and belief to cope with the expectations and pressure of playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world.

Diallo has flourished under Mowbray, who now admits the young winger is one of the first names on his teamsheet. There were fears earlier this season that the 20-year-old would be recalled by United but boss Erik ten Hag believes the forward is better off staying on Wearside, where he's happy, in-form and improving all the time.

That's music to the ears of all associated with Sunderland, with Amad now one of the most feared forwards in the Championship.

Mowbray said: “He has done exceptionally well. From being on the periphery, one of a handful of young signings when I came in, he has almost earned the right to play every minute of every game over the last two months. And that is all down to his talent.

"His performance level has been extremely high. He went through a purple patch scoring almost every game but he is always a threat to the opposition. Defenders hang out a leg and he dances past them. He has scored a few goals from outside the box and he links well with the other strikers."

United are closely monitoring Amad's progression at the Stadium of Light, with Mowbray having held lengthy discussions with the coaches this week. He told them what he tells the player - that he's good enough to make it at Old Trafford.

“I had a long conversation with coaches at Manchester United this week who were asking about Amad," explained the Sunderland boss.

"He undoubtedly has the talent to play at the top level. What happens with young footballers is it's whether they have the internal mechanisms, the personality to play with the demands of that club.

"With total respect to Sunderland, we are in the Championship striving to improve. if he plays for Man United, he has to try and win the Champions League, the Premier League, it is a level above.

"The talent is there. I managed in the Champions League with Celtic and I know he will never fall short on talent because the ball is stuck to his left foot. He will never give it away in tight areas so he can undoubtedly play there.

"It is whether the personality will mature and grow into believing he can play on that stage. If he can get that and feel comfortable  in that environment, then he has the talent to thrive there.

“I can see that belief growing inside him every day. But that is our environment. He expects to play here and understands he is an important player in our team. Five months ago, he was just another young kid presented to the fans, doing 20 minutes here and there. Sometimes he did not even get off the bench.

“Now I would struggle to pick a team without him in it, he is one of the first names on the team sheet. That is how he has grown."


Mowbray has previous experience when it comes to handling a young player with enormous potential.

He said: “I spoke to United about my experiences with Harvey Elliott at Blackburn. The only thing that was going to stop him playing for Liverpool was whether he had the personality to play for a club with such expectations.

“The talent was always there – he scored a wonder goal at Wolves this week. Once they believe they can do it and are not releasing the ball quickly to a Henderson or whoever, and have the confidence to stay with the ball, the talent is there.”