MICHAEL Beale is delighted Jobe Bellingham has been able to get through a "crazy" spell of football and with the schedule now settling down in the second half of the Championship season, Sunderland will modify the youngster's training programme.

Bellingham played all but five minutes of a manic spell of four games in 10 days over Christmas and New Year after Beale's appointment.

The scheduling took its toll, with Sunderland suffering some injury setbacks during that time, and Beale admits it was a concerning spell for the coaching and medical team.

Bellingham only turned 18 in September but has started 25 of Sunderland's 27 Championship games so far. Club staff will continue to closely monitor the teenager to ensure they're not asking too much of him, and Beale says the fixture list in the next couple of months will allow the Black Cats to ensure Bellingham gets ample rest.

Sunderland have just two midweek games between now and Easter.


"We had a huge issue in terms of having those four games in ten days when I first came in, because we picked up injuries in that period," said Beale.

"But we wanted to come out of that period in the top six and we were able to do that, which was pleasing.

"It wasn't just Jobe, there were one or two others where [we were concerned]. The scheduling, we're now playing one game a week for a month and it seems crazy that we had that fixture list at the time. We lost three players to injury in that period, and it doesn't help the product on the pitch either.

"It wasn't just Jobe. He's a player who wants to play football every minute of the day, he is first in the building and last out, obsessed with the game.

"Sometimes, you're right, we do need to give someone a break. Over that run of games it was an issue but now with the schedule I have I think it is less so, because we can modify the training schedule for him."