Young Australian defender Jacob Young is following in his father’s footsteps and is out to break into Sunderland’s starting side.
Young is the son of Wollongong Wolves legend Stuart Young. The striker from Hull spent five seasons with the Wolves where he captained the club to two NSL Championships.
He then joined Perth Glory where he spent two years in the formative years of the A-League. Wollongong-born Jacob is following in his father footsteps and is now in his third year with the Black Cats.
The 19-year-old grew up in Western Australia and has always been surrounded by the beautiful game.
"I was born and wanted to follow in his footsteps,” Jacob told FTBL.
With my dad playing football, he’d always be off to training, sometimes I’d go with him. From early on I always knew I wanted to play football.
Young spent time with Perth Glory and Cockburn City as a junior, but signed for Sunderland in January 2016 at the age of 15 after a playing tour of the UK.
"I did a few tours of England,” he said.
That’s how Sunderland and a few other clubs first saw me. A year or so after that I came back to trial for some teams. I went to Sunderland, I went to Fulham and I went to Arsenal.
"Long story short, I chose Sunderland. At first it was a massive eye-opener. Coming from young, grassroots Australian football straight to a professional club was a massive step.
"It’s definitely taken some time to adjust to it. I’m still learning now but the standard is a lot better, quicker, a lot more physical. But it’s 100% been a great move for me. It’s a massive fanbase, a massive club. It’s crazy.
"The north-east is massively football-orientated. It’s been the perfect club for me in terms of fanbase, their values and things like that."
The centre back has thrived on Wearside, working his way up through the Sunderland academy while the first-team has suffered successive relegations.
This season Young has made 11 appearances for the club’s Under-23s against the youth teams of Manchester United, Middlesbrough and Fulham.
"When I moved [to the Uk] we were in the Premier League, playing against the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea every week,” he said.
"Nothings changed in terms of we play against in terms of academy teams, in the Under-18s and Under-23s. But in terms of first-etam and things around the academy, there’s definitely been changes.
"Having double relegation, as there would at any club. But we’re definitely on the up now, there’s good vibes around the place. Everything’s looking up. This is my second year as a pro and I’ve got next year to look forward to as well.
"Personally this season for me has been good. As a team it’s been tough, not getting a lot of results. But in the Under-23s it’s a lot about development, trying to improve as a player.
"I think it’s been good, we don’t win a lot, which doesn’t sound great, but you learn a lot from these types of experiences, definitely.”