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Duncan Watmore becomes first Championship player to back Mata’s Common Goal

Sunderland star is the 20th player to join the initiative by giving one per cent of his salary to global charitable causes

Juan Mata’s Common Goal initiative is gathering pace after sealing a first Championship signing.

Sunderland’s Duncan Watmore has put his club’s on-pitch struggles to one side to become the 20th player to pledge that they he will give up one per cent of his salary to help football charities across the globe.

Mata helped to kick off the initiative, run by global outfit Streetfootballworld, in August. It promises to pool all of the donated salaries to help football charities all over the world with causes as diverse as gender equality in India and refugee integration in Germany.

Mackems youth product Watmore has just returned to action from a torn ligament injury that kept him out of action for almost a year.

In that time, he has watched Sunderland finish bottom of the Premier League before slipping to the same spot in the Championship table.

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And Watmore’s annus horribilis has inspired him to give back to society where he can.

“Football is a fast-paced career and you never know what’s around the corner,” said Watmore, who has already bucked the trend with footballers by graduating from Newcastle University with a first-class degree in Economics and Business Management.

“I want to commit to Common Goal now as it’s the most effective and sustainable way for the football industry to make a positive impact on society. My career lies ahead of me and I’m delighted that Common Goal will be a constant part of my journey.”

The move comes hot on the heels of former Man United midfielder Shinji Kagawa and the first Premier League signings, Alfie Mawson and Charlie Daniels, who joined up last month.

Kagawa said, of his Common Goal signing: “Football has given me so many opportunities in life and now I want to play my role in supporting others through the game.

“Common Goal is quickly growing around the world and I’m proud to help lead the movement forward in Japan.”

German Bundesliga stars Dennis Aogo, Mats Hummels and Serge Gnabry have all joined up as well as Gnabry’s Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann.

Turkish ace Hasan Ali Kaldirim and Sydney FC’s Alex Brosque signed up earlier this month to join already-announce US women’s players Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan.

Veteran Italy and Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini rounds out the side with organisers pledging to announce a whole squad of players in the coming months.

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