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Chris Rigg’s Sunderland contract is a source of pride and joy, while Newcastle and Man Utd were left disappointed

Chris Rigg’s Sunderland contract is a source of pride and joy, while Newcastle and Man Utd were left disappointed

Sunderland’s Chris Rigg (Image: PA)

CHRIS Rigg says he knows Sunderland is the best place for him after the history-making youngster ended any transfer speculation and committed his future to the Black Cats.

Rigg gave Sunderland a huge boost in the summer after the 17-year-old signed a three-year deal, his first professional contract.

The midfielder, who became the club’s youngest outfield player when he made his debut aged just 15, has attracted interest from Manchester United and Newcastle this summer.

But he believes he is on the right track at the Stadium of Light and says he is excited about the future, with the young England international set to play a leading role for new manager Regis Le Bris this season.

Rigg said: “The club means absolutely everything to me. Every time I wear this badge, whether it’s in training or in a game, I give it my all.

“I’m absolutely thrilled, to be honest. It’s a proud moment for me and my family to sign my first professional contract at a club like Sunderland.

“I’ve been dying to sign it for almost a year. I want to develop as a player and improve as a person – and I believe this is the best place to do that.

“The whole team has been unbelievable to me throughout my journey at the Academy of Light, but there is still a lot of improvement I can make. The hard work starts now, but I look forward to creating many more memories representing this club.”

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Sporting director Kristjaan Speakman added: “I am delighted for Chris, who has always communicated to us that Sunderland is where he wants to be.

“Everyone knows how difficult it can be to retain top talent in the current climate, and that wouldn’t have been possible without great people.

“Robin Nicholls and our Academy staff do an outstanding job and I am delighted for them all that yet another Academy graduate has committed his future to the club.

“Chris’ talent and, more recently, his performances in the first team have made interest and speculation inevitable, and it is testament to everyone behind the scenes that he has committed his future to our club.”