Sunderland academy chief Ged McNamee says their priority is to bring through Northeast talent.
McNamee insists the onus is giving local kids their chance.
He told The Journal: "We're different from other Academies. Some other Academies have a desire to bring in players from a distance or from other countries, where we're more localised.
"The majority of our boys are local boys. We do go into foreign markets, but not as readily as other Academies. Certainly Middlesbrough are the same.
"We look internationally, but my view has always been that, when we look at that market, we look at what we have in our Academy and ask: 'Is he better than what's in the building?' If he is better and he's better than the player on our matrix we will pursue that."