They have only lost three matches in the second tier after winning promotion from League One – via the play-offs – in the 2021/22 campaign.
The likes of Ross Stewart and Alex Pritchard have predictably impressed but another player who has established themselves as a regular in the team is academy product, Daniel Neil.
He has started seven of the club’s eight matches in the league and recently put in a monstrous performance against Norwich City, who are second in the table. The central midfielder recorded a SofaScore rating of 8.0 as he won 11 of his 17 individual duels and made a whopping eight tackles and three interceptions, whilst also creating three chances.
This comes after Neil started 31 times in League One last season on the club’s way to promotion out of the third tier. He has made the breakthrough from the youth set-up and made himself a key member of the first-team squad, showing that there is a pathway for young players at the Academy of Light.
He was handed his full first-team debut by former manager Alex Neil last month as he started in the 2-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup. Although it was a disappointing result for the Black Cats, the 20-year-old did catch the eye as he made four tackles and interceptions and won 100% of his aerial battles in the middle of the park.
Sohna also had a taste of first-team football as he played three matches in the EFL Trophy last season. He averaged 1.7 tackles and interceptions per game, whilst also completing 88% of his attempted passes, in fixtures against Lincoln, Bradford and Manchester United’s youth team.
These statistics suggest that he is a combative midfielder who can also pick out a pass, which makes him similar to Neil in that he can make an impact on and off the ball from that position.
The 20-year-old’s performances in the build-up to the current campaign clearly impressed Alex Neil enough to convince him that the gem was ready to make his first-team debut, suggesting that he may have the potential to be a regular in the future.
If Sohna can continue to develop and hone his skills in the coming weeks and months then he could end up being the next Daniel Neil to make the step up to the first team in midfield, putting in ‘excellent’ displays week-in-week-out for the Black Cats.