Chris Rigg's first words after Sunderland contract confirmed

Sunderland's Chris Rigg
-Credit: (Image: Richard Lee/REX/Shutterstock)

Chris Rigg has ended speculation surrounding his future by signing his first professional contract at Sunderland. A highly-coveted England youth international, the 17-year-old is red and white until 2027 after putting pen to paper on a three-year contract at the Stadium of Light.

Rigg said: “I am absolutely buzzing, to be honest. It is a proud moment for myself and my family to be signing my first professional contract at a club like Sunderland. I have been dying to sign it for almost a year now. I want to develop as a player and improve as a person – and I believe this is the best place for me to do that.

"All the staff have been unbelievable with me throughout my journey at the Academy of Light, but there are still so many improvements I can make. The hard work starts now, but I am looking forward to making many more memories representing this club.”

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Sporting director Kristjaan Speakman added: “I’m delighted for Chris, who has always communicated to us that Sunderland is where he wants to be. “Everyone is aware of how difficult it can be to retain top talent in today’s climate, and this would not have been possible without great people. Robin Nicholls and our Academy staff undertake excellent work and I’m pleased for them all that another Academy graduate has committed their future to the club. Chris’ talent, and more recently his performances within the first team, made interest and speculation inevitable, and it is a testament to all behind the scenes that he has committed his future to our Club.”

Rigg enjoyed a stunning breakthrough season last term, taking every step of a remarkable debut campaign in his stride as records tumbled at his feet.

After becoming the club’s youngest outfield debutant aged 15, Rigg scored his first senior goal in August 2023 against Crewe Alexandra in the Carabao Cup.

He became the youngest goalscorer in Sunderland history and the second-youngest scorer in EFL Championship history one month later, and went on to make 22 senior appearances during the 2023-24 season.

The England U17 captain has been ever-present for the Three Lions at youth level and most recently featured at the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup and the 2024 UEFA European U17 Championship.

Rigg returned to training alongside his team-mates earlier this week ahead of the club’s opening pre-season fixtures against South Shields and Gateshead on Saturday July 13.