Sunderland star Dan Neil has full belief that he can step up to the Premier League with the Black Cats after drawing summer interest from the top-flight.
Sunderland midfielder Neil has been in and around the first-team picture on Wearside for some time now. The 21-year-old has 115 Black Cats appearances to his name and has played every minute of Championship football so far this season.
Neil has been one of the division’s most impressive midfielders this campaign and in the summer, his talents drew admiring glances. Liverpool and Burnley were among those said keen but the South Shields-born talent stayed put.
He only signed a new deal in March, keeping him onboard until the summer of 2026. Now, Neil has said his belief that Sunderland can rise to the Premier League was a big reason behind his decision to commit his future to the club.
As quoted by the Sunderland Echo, Neil had this to say on his top-flight ambitions:
“That’s why I signed the deal, I love the philosophy here. Listen I landed on my feet when the philosophy came in because I was an 18-year-old lad kind of on the fringes of the first-team.
“I can’t thank the club enough because I’ve got invaluable experience week in, week out for the last two, three years which included a promotion and almost another one.
“I fully believe in this squad that we’ve got here. I know it looks young on paper but I think we are more than good enough to compete at the top end of the table and hopefully achieve that goal of getting back to the Premier League.”
Destined for the Premier League?
There are plenty of top young players on the books at Sunderland and midfielder Neil is certainly among the best of them. He’s got a vast amount of senior experience to his name at only 21 and his ever-present position in Tony Mowbray’s side shows just how important he is to the team.
It’s inevitable that a player of his quality is going to draw high-profile interest given his age. However, the Black Cats are an ambitious club and last season’s play-off push shows that they’re an upwardly mobile one despite the young squad they possess.
Neil has already emerged as a real star in the north east and if they are to rise to the Premier League, he’ll likely have an important role to play in getting them there.