Very few young players have been given genuine opportunities in Sunderland's first team in recent seasons. The notable exceptions to that were Jordan Pickford and Duncan Watmore, with George Honeyman perhaps getting some reasonable game time albeit during Sunderland's whimper end to the 2016/17 campaign and relegation.
Simon Grayson has a history of giving youth a chance and has been very vocal on his intentions to do just that. The signing of Brandon Galloway and apparent imminent arrival of teammate Ty Browning is further evidence of that. It's more than likely one of the big reasons he got the job in the first place, and the new manager has already signalled Josh Maja our for praise - even before yesterday.
He's not the first to do that, Sam Allardyce was always very keen on the young Londoner and Maja may well have found himself playing in the first team had Woy beat Iceland. Agile and full of technique, Maja is a forward who very much likes to play football in an eye catching fashion. Still just 18, some of the rare glimpses those of us who don't regularly attend youth matches have seen showcase that. Such as this elaborate assist in the below video. Swedish academy prospect Oscar Krusnell said in an interview that Maja had the "sickest first touch" that he had seen - going as far as to say it was better than anyone else at Sunderland.
On the back of such a horrific season its hard not to pin hopes on anything that seems remotely hopeful. That said, the burden of expectation is very much off this Sunderland side with very few expecting a swift return to the Premier League.
There couldn't be a better time to blood some young players, and Maja has already put forward a case which is near impossible to ignore. His brace yesterday transforming defeat to victory will have done that claim no harm!