Head coach Martin Jones is impressed with his Scholars side

Sunderland Scholars head coach Martin Jones has been extremely impressed with the attitude of his young scholars side as they look to win the league and the FA Cup National Football Youth Trophy final.

The Sunderland Scholars programme was set up by the Foundation of Light in order to help build the futures of young footballing talent. Jones has been leading the scheme along with help from Spennymoor midfielder Jamie Chandler.

Martin Jones spoke to Sportsbyte about how well the boys had taken to the programme. He said: “They have really bought into the project, the education side as well as the football.

“With the football, everything that we have put to them and everything we have taught them they have took on board.”

Jones, who held a similar position in Plymouth, knew the team were something special from early on.

“From within the second or third week they all bought into it. On the football pitch they all rolled their sleeves up. They’re 15, 16, 17 years old, they have just left school and they are only first years in an under 19s league.

“After the third week when they were performing on an everyday basis I thought ‘there is something good here.'”

The programme is in its maiden year however Jones is keen to make sure it lasts.

“We are continually trying to develop it, it is so important that the quality is kept, for example we make sure that they train correctly we make sure that when they turn up the ethics are right.

“They shake our hands when they turn up, they shake our hands when they go away – so it is a learning curve all the time.”

Jones continued: “We hope the course continues as they carry on to university whether it be in football, in sports journalism or sports science. That’s where we hope to take it.”

The Scholars take on Albion in the Community on May 24 at the Stadium of Light in the FA Cup National Football Youth Trophy final.