Premier League

Sunderland youngster John Egan working hard to try and impress Martin O'Neill

John Egan: Excited about the challenge of pushing for a place at Sunderland

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John Egan is hoping to catch Martin O'Neill's eye as he strives to improve and become involved more regularly at Sunderland.

Having been handed a squad number during the summer, 19-year-old defender Egan was then given the opportunity to experience life with the first team on their pre-season tour of South Korea.

The Republic of Ireland Under 21 international recognises that he must now continue to put the effort in if he is to make a significant breakthrough.

"It was great to be given a squad number at the beginning of the season but there's still a lot of hard work to be done in training to push and get in the actual squad," he told the club's official website.

"I'm just going to keep playing my football and hopefully keep improving and catch the manager's eye.

"Pre-season was great, I got the chance to come on a few times and spend time with the first team and I really enjoyed that.

"Now it's up to me to concentrate on getting in there on a regular basis."

Chance to learn

Egan faces a tough task to get in the Sunderland side as there are so many options at O'Neill's disposal, but he say he is benefiting from the wisdom of others.

"I was up next to John O'Shea, Carlos Cuellar and Lee Cattermole, who have all got loads of experience," he explained. "That's great for me.

"There are a lot of defenders at the club, but in my point of view it's a lot more people to learn from - I try to take bits of their game and use it in my own.

"It's great to get the chance to learn from them."