Sunderland’s trialist, Sam Smart of Basingstoke Town, has been described by his current manager Terry Brown as ‘like Raheem Sterling’.

The 20-year-old has also drawn comparisons to Bournemouth’s rising star David Brooks by Basingstoke Gazette’s senior sports journalist, Graham Merry.

Smart, who currently plays in the Southern League South with Basingstoke, featured in Sunderland U23’s most recent fixture vs Middlesbrough U23 and put in an impressive performance, winning his side a penalty, before being subbed off after 60 mins.

“He’s not a face-up player so he’s not gonna show up and get kicked from behind, he looks to get off the shoulder and run in behind people.

“He’s exactly like Sterling you’ve got to catch him first,” Brown said of his younger winger.

“He’s got electric pace the same as Raheem, he’s right-footed the same.”

And Brown had high hopes for Smart’s potential step up to League 1. “He will find, and I’ve been doing this a lot of years, will find the intensity of training massively different, but the boys 20 years old he can only get better.

“As Raheem Sterling did at Liverpool, they blooded him in the u23s and gave him plenty of game time in that alongside similar players.

“I’m sure if he was at a club with the prestige of Sunderland, I’m sure that Paul Reid (Sunderland academy manager) would bring him on.”

“He’s a very speedy winger, that’s his game, he’s extremely quick,” said Merry of the Basingstoke Gazette. “He goes past people and does get plenty of assists for Basingstoke Town because of his speed.

“The one player I would say is Brooks who plays at Bournemouth, he’s quite small, but again is quite agile and gets himself about.”

However, despite the early signs of promise, an agreement has yet to be reached by the two clubs.

“No deal arranged,” said Basingstoke CEO David Knight. “They invited him for training and obviously to play last night,  hopefully from that point of view and his point of view with a view to signing him.”

“He’s been with us for 2 years and it’s about time he moved on to be honest.

“I spoke to Richard Hill and Paul Reid and Paul has actually seen the boy for us so you know he knows the boy very well hopefully that’ll help facilitate a move.” manager Brown said.