Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is delighted with his progress this season.
He was handed a squad number before the start of the season and also appeared in the clubâ€™s official first-team photograph alongside senior stoppers Simon Mignolet and Keiren Westwood.
â€śIt felt really good to get that squad number and be in the picture â€“ Iâ€™m a step closer to my dream,â€ť he told safc.com.
â€śI have always wanted to play for Sunderland ever since I was a kid. It felt good to go away with the team in pre-season and to actually get on the pitch [in South Korea] was brilliant.
â€śThings are going well with the under-21s and itâ€™s definitely a better league this year. It feels more competitive.
â€śWe had a great result at Stoke the other night and deserved to win. It was a tough game. The standard has gone up across the league and I can definitely tell that in the games Iâ€™ve played.
â€śThe games are faster, thereâ€™s a lot more to do and a lot more decisions to make during the course of a match.â€ť