Lynden Gooch, one of Sunderland’s young talents that have made an impact this season

A mixture of injuries and a lack of transfer window activity has led to Sunderland’s young charges gaining much needed first team exposure this season.

There have been plenty of positives to take from the youngsters performances this season and we’ll be looking at the individual impact of each player so far this season and what they can provide in 2018.

George Honeyman

At 23 years old Honeyman is now crossing the threshold from youngster into established professional and has made 27 appearances in all competitions for the Black Cats this season.

Honeyman has come in for some stick from Sunderland supporters for his lack of quality in decisive areas on the pitch but manager Chris Coleman clearly rates his battling and work-rate qualities and he has chipped in with four goals this season which isn’t bad return for a midfielder.

He’ll be looking to continue to develop into a key member of Coleman’s squad and add to his goals and assists tally in 2018.

Lynden Gooch

American midfielder Gooch is in a similar position to Honeyman in terms of his development as he looks to establish himself as a permanent fixture in Sunderland’s squad.

Gooch has received plenty of opportunities under both Coleman and his predecessor Simon Grayson as his 21 appearances this season highlights.

Again, similarly to Honeyman, Gooch’s end product needs improvement but he has proven his value to Coleman with his versatility having been deployed in a number of positions.

Josh Maja

As the player that scored the goal to end Sunderland’s home drought Maja is already a hit amongst Sunderland fans.

That the winning goal against Fulham was the 19-year-old’s first in senior football made the feat even more impressive as Maja ended the 364-day wait for a home win with a finish that defied his age and lack of experience.

Since then Maja has made five further appearances, three as a substitute and two leading the line as he looks to continue his trajectory in 2018.

Joel Asoro

The 18-year-old is still waiting for a moment like Maja’s to truly announce himself to the Sunderland faithful but the signs have been positive from the Swedish striker.

A willing runner, Asoro has had limited opportunities this season but when called upon has made an impact, providing an assist for Honeyman in the 2-0 win at Burton Albion and winning a penalty which Lewis Grabban converted in the 3-1 defeat to Reading.

With Grabban now departed there’s an opening for Asoro to really stake a claim as a regular starter at Sunderland.

Elliot Embleton

Durham born Embleton made his debut as a late substitute in December’s draw with Wolves and followed that up with a run out in the FA Cup defeat to Middlesbrough.

Embleton has been on the verge of breaking into the team at Sunderland for a while with his performances for the Under 23s earning praise.

The 18-year-old has been involved with the England set up recently and was part of the Young Lions side that retained the Toulon Tournament last summer, converting his penalty in the shoot-out victory over the Ivory Coast in the final.

There are high expectations for Embleton on Wearside and fans will be hoping Coleman provides Embleton with opportunities to demonstrate his talent.

Ethan Robson

Deep-lying midfielder Robson has had to be patient waiting for his opportunities this season, two substitute appearances in September being the sum of the 21-year-olds contribution under Grayson.

Robson made another substitute appearance in Coleman’s first game in charge against Aston Villa before bing thrust into the starting line-up for the FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough.

Robson put in a mature performance at the Riverside moving the ball nicely and providing some bite in Sunderland’s midfield. The Houghton-le-Spring born midfielder will be expecting further chances to showcase his ability in the coming weeks.