Sunderland appear to have unearthed a gem this season in the form of Josh Maja. The striker has been in fine form so far this season for the club. The 19-year-old has scored eight goals in 11 League One games this season and, considering his young age, that is a sensational record.
It is hard not to see comparisons with a former Sunderland player when looking at Maja’s style of play. There are definite hints of Jermain Defoe in his style. Ultimately, because like Defoe, he simply loves scoring goals and has a knack for doing just that.
Defoe spent two-and-a-half seasons at the Stadium of Light, scoring 37 goals in 93 games for the club. He also had a profound impact off the pitch and is fondly remembered by Sunderland fans for more than just his goalscoring antics.
“Everybody at the club speaks incredibly highly of Jermain not just as a player but a person too in how he conducted himself and they’ve got nothing but praise for how he was around the staff and his influence on the young players. Josh speaks highly of that as well.
“I think you can see that in the way he (Maja) conducts himself now.
“You can’t underestimate the significance of working with someone like Jermain Defoe at such a young age. You can be massively influenced by players who play in a similar position to you in terms of how they conduct themselves and do things.”
However, as manager Jack Ross commented on earlier this season, it appears that Defoe has impacted the club’s current striker.
Maja spent time with the first-team during Defoe’s stint at the club and working alongside a player with 162 Premier League goals can only help him develop as a player.
It certainly seems as though the teenager remembers a thing or two Defoe taught him as he continues to fire Sunderland to a promotion push this term.