INTERIM Sunderland head coach Mike Dodds admits Tommy Watson could be given an opportunity in the first-team after impressing on his return from injury.

The 18-year-old, who impressed in the FA Youth Cup earlier this season, signed his first professional contract earlier this season, keeping him on Wearside until the summer of 2026.

An impressive 2022-23 campaign, saw him registered 16 goals and assists across the Under-18 Premier League and Premier League 2, and was handed his senior debut against Huddersfield Town in the Sky Bet Championship, replacing Patrick Roberts as a second-half substitute.

The Easington-born winger picked up an injury that has kept him out for the last two months, but he's stepped up his recovery over the international break, impressing against Newcastle United and Leicester City.


"Tommy trained with us a couple of times over the international break and has done really, really well," Dodds said.

"I've had a conversation with him personally about where he fits, the things I think he does really well and the things I think he can improve on.

"He has real clarity on that. He's definitely one I'm sure will come into our thinking at some point, it probably won't be this weekend but after that we'll look to potentially integrate into the group a little bit more."

Like fellow academy talent Chris Rigg, Watson has not been short of admirers after his displays for Sunderland's youth sides, baring a striking similarity to Jack Clarke in terms of his ball carrying and eye for goal. His fine form last season saw him gain international recognition with England Under-17s, earning five caps for the Young Lions.