Sunderland Face Battle To Keep Hold Of Highly-Rated Youngster

Sunderland now face a battle to keep hold of 16-year-old midfielder Chris Rigg, according to a report from the Sunderland Echo.

The outlet are claiming that Rigg has garnered interest from various clubs across Europe, with Manchester United, Liverpool and Bayern Munich all taking a liking to his quality. Birmingham City also admire the player, who made his debut last season against Shrewsbury Town.

Rigg has made eleven appearances for the first-team so far in his career, scoring on two occasions. Most of his outings have been small cameos as the club tries to ease him into senior football.

The Hebburn-born midfielder’s deal at present is a two-year scholarship and he could join another team immediately if he chose to, with several offers already on the table from interested parties.

However, the report states that his camp feels that it would be more beneficial for his development if he remains in Sunderland. Rigg can sign a professional contract when he turns 17 in June and the club are expected to work hard to ensure he commits his future to playing at the Stadium of Light.

Manager Michael Beale recently admitted that he does not look at the age of the young midfielder when assessing him, but admires his eagerness to be involved [quotes via the Sunderland Echo]:

“He obviously missed out at the weekend because he was involved with the FA Youth Cup, but I was very pleased with him. We don’t want to talk about age because we believe in their talent, but for someone so young… he showed me that he wants to be involved, he doesn’t just want a bit-part role”.

Sunderland are currently eighth in the Championship, one point behind Hull City in sixth, although the Tigers do have a game in hand over the Black Cats. They face Plymouth Argyle at home on Saturday, hoping to get back to winning ways.

Writer’s View

Rigg is a top young talent but his reasons for staying in Wearside are valid. The chances of becoming a first-team player at a top club like Liverpool are much slimmer than breaking through at Sunderland. There have been clear pathways for youth players to shine in recent years, and the English midfielder will feel he has a good chance of following that path.

Jobe Bellingham’s career has been something to admire since he came to the club and if Rigg can keep doing the right things on the training pitch, there is no reason why he can’t emulate that in the coming months.

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