Sunderland’s Duncan Watmore has been tipped for the very top – with Jermain Defoe comparing him to Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale.
The 21-year-old forward recently committed himself to the Black Cats, signing a new four-year-deal.
And Defoe believes Sunderland’s future is bright with England Under-21 ace Watmore leading the way.
Defoe sees similarities between the youngster and his former Tottenham Hotspur teammate Bale, who broke through the ranks during Defoe’s time at Spurs.
Sunderland’s immediate future certainly looks brighter after the 1-0 away win at Crystal Palace, with Defoe scoring the winner after 80 minutes.
“It’s great to have someone like young Duncs in the squad, who is so quick and athletic,” Defoe said.
“In a funny way he reminds me of Gareth Bale when he came on the scene at Tottenham.
“He used to get on the ball and just glide and if Duncs can do what Gaz has done, then he will be fantastic.
“He is the future of this club.
“I am delighted for Duncs that he signed a new deal, he is such a nice lad away from football.
“All he wants to do is play football and do well for the club.
“The future of the club looks bright and there are a couple more youngsters that have impressed me too.”
Defoe, with seven goals to his name this campaign, was back in the starting line-up at Selhurst Park after being dropped for the 1-0 defeat to Southampton.
Leading the line alongside Steven Fletcher in a 3-5-2 formation, Sunderland posed a threat going forward and were resilient at the back.
Defoe has again been linked with a January move away from the Stadium of Light.
But the 33-year-old insists there is no problem over him not starting every game, despite being the club’s top scorer.
“It is not an issue,” added Defoe.
“If it was, I wouldn’t have performed like I did at Palace.
“When I get my chance I take it, like I have always done.
“I am always ready. I won’t sulk in training, if I do that then I am only harming myself.
“The manager has been in the game long enough to know in certain games you may need to change personnel, not just me but the rest of the lads.
“You have to be ready when called upon, it is as simple as that.
“As forwards you get judged on scoring goals. It is a pressure I have always enjoyed.
“I have always been that way.
“The manager wants clean sheets and there is a lot of pressure on us to score the goals.
“The win is so important for the club and everyone is delighted. It is a nice feeling and the fans were brilliant again.”
Victory pushed Sunderland up a place to 18th, now just a point behind Newcastle United.
Watmore and fellow sub Jeremain Lens had the desired effect from the bench and Defoe was quick to praise them.
Defoe added: “The subs made a big difference at Palace.
“Jeremain [Lens] is a great player too, strong, and the ball just stuck to Danny Graham when he came on - it just shows it is a squad game.”