Sunderland have high hopes for familiar Portsmouth faceÂ

Sam Smart has been compared to Raheem Sterling.Â

Thursday, 29th November 2018, 10:35 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 2:51 am
Sam Smart. Photography by Habibur Rahman

The former Pompey in the Community development side winger is currently on trial at Sunderland.

Smart has earned rave reviews during his spell at the Blues' League One title rivals.

He delivered an impressive display in their under-23s' 3-1 loss to Middlesbrough on Monday.

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The 20-year-old currently plays for Southern League premier division south outfit Basingstoke Town, having previously represented Horndean during his career.

He scored 20 goals and created 28 last season

Terry Brown believes Smart's playing style is akin to Manchester City starlet Sterling.

And the Basingstoke boss insists the fledgling talent would improve significantly if he was offered a deal at the Stadium of Light.

Brown told the Sunderland Echo: '˜He's exactly like Sterling '“ you've got to catch him first.

'˜He's got electric pace, the same as Raheem '“ he's right-footed the same.

'˜He's not a face-up player, so he's not going to show up and get kicked from behind.

'˜He looks to get off the shoulder and run in behind people.

'˜He will find '“ and I've been doing this a lot of years '“ the intensity of training (at Sunderland) massively different, but the boy's 20 years old, he can only get better.

'˜With Raheem Sterling at Liverpool, they blooded him in the under-23s and gave him plenty of game time at that level alongside similar players.

'˜I'm sure if he was at a club with the prestige of Sunderland, Paul Reid [Sunderland academy manager] would bring him on the same way.'