Sunderland are enjoying a strong return to the Championship this season as they currently remain in the fierce race to finish in a play-off position.

The Black Cats are ninth in the table and a good run of form between now and the end of the campaign could put them in contention to land in the top six, which would give them a shot at promotion to the Premier League.

Tony Mowbray’s side have adapted to life in the second tier and a large part of that has been down to the excellent young players within the squad; including the likes of Anthony Patterson, Amad Diallo, Jack Clarke, and Aji Alese.

One young gem the club have struck gold with in recent years is Academy of Light product Daniel Neil, who has been a key player for Sunderland in 2022/23.

The central midfielder came up through the youth set-up on Wearside and former Black Cats boss Lee Johnson brought him through into the first-team as a regular in the 2021/22 campaign.

How much is Daniel Neil worth for Sunderland?

At the start of that season, the Englishman had an Expected Transfer Value of £260k (€300k) in July 2021, as per Football Transfers, and his price has soared since then.

His current xTV is £2.8m (€3.2m) and this means that his value has rocketed up by a sensational 977% since the ex-Sunderland head coach opted to bring him through into the senior set-up.

Johnson, who once described a younger Neil as a “starry-eyed kid“, previously compared the dynamo to an England icon, saying: “He’s got that lovely dribbling technique, a little bit like a young Paul Gascoigne almost in the way he sort of hops and drags it at the same time which, as a defender, makes it very difficult to commit because as soon as you do, he’s got the ability to skip by you.”

The midfielder ended up playing 39 times in League One during his breakthrough campaign and chipped in with three goals and seven assists from the middle of the park, whilst also making 1.7 tackles and interceptions per match.

He has followed that up by playing in 33 of the club’s 34 Championship games this term. Neil has scored twice and provided four assists and managed to improve his defensive output by making an eye-catching 3.6 tackles and interceptions per outing.

The 21-year-old has proven himself to be a reliable performer in both the third and second tiers of English football during his first two seasons as a regular first-team player, which has been reflected in his soaring market value since the start of last season.

Therefore, Johnson struck gold for the Black Cats by placing his faith in the talented youngster in 2021 and the club could go on to make a significant profit from that decision if the dynamo continues on his upwards trajectory.


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