Kevin Phillips has tipped new Sunderland signing Will Harris to make an impact on the first team this season if afforded the opportunity by Black Cats boss Phil Parkinson.

The Stadium of Light legend, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed that the 19-year-old will be “eager to impress” given the fact he is a local lad.

The club confirmed the capture of the striker from Burnley on Tuesday and he will initially link up with Elliott Dickman’s Under-23 squad.

Harris, who was born in nearby South Shields, spent three years at Turf Moor and enjoyed loan spells at Northern Premier League sides Colne FC and Warrington Town.

Phillips suggested that Parkinson give the teenager a taste of first team training.

“There is definitely a chance for him to make an impact on that first team next season,” he told Football Insider. “100 per cent.

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“If that was me I would be looking to get him involved with the first team straight away, maybe get him into training a couple of times a week and bleed him in gently.

“You do not want to put too much pressure on him but he could turn out to be one of these young players who is eager to impress, especially if he is a local lad. He will work hard and know better than anyone that if you start doing well at that football club you become a bit of a hero.

“He could go under the radar, a bit like when I first went there. Anything is possible and he might be a good back up option for Phil Parkinson.” 

Speaking shortly after signing a one-year deal, Harris said: “Being a local lad, it’s a dream come true to sign a contract with Sunderland.

“I’m delighted to be here, and I can’t wait to get started.”

In other Sunderland news, Kevin Phillips backs Black Cats to land ‘Clever’ Championship striker this summer.