Ball: Sunderland must widen youth recruitment

Sunderland assistant academy boss Kevin Ball is confident that the club will be capable of attracting the world's best young talent in the future.

He told the Sunday Sun: "We are trying to recruit the best talent from our area and do the best we can with them.

"But in time will we extend our arm out into Europe? I would like to think that we will do.

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"What this club needs is to bring in the best young players and if that means we look further afield then so be it."

Sunderland beat Liverpool 5-3 after extra-time on Wednesday night, with all five goals coming from local lads.

Martyn Waghorn - who has already had a taste of first-team action - scored twice while Joe Cornforth, Jordan Cook and Ryan Noble scored one apiece.

Ball said: "Liverpool had a mix. They had some foreign players but they also had a lot of local lads in their squad.

"But if you look at our squad, our players are drawn purely from this area - with the exceptions of Conor Hourihane and Niall McArdle, who have come over from Ireland.

"That's something we should always do - we should always give our local players the best chance possible and the best opportunity to come through the academy system.

"That's the ultimate aim of the academy and Ged [McNamee, the academy manager] and I both feel the same about that.

"By the same token, at times you may need to go elsewhere and look at foreign players - although not if they are no better than those you have on your own doorstep."

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