Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy has invested in youth by handing a new deal to midfielder Richie Ryan.
The 19-year-old Irishman has signed a one-year contract which will keep him at the Stadium of Light until the end of next season and give him a chance to prove he has got what it takes.
Ryan was handed a Barclaycard Premiership debut as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat by arch-rivals Newcastle in April last year after only six reserve team appearances, and got another opportunity in the final day demolition by Arsenal as McCarthy ran the rule over his squad.
However, a troublesome hip injury severely limited his involvement during the last campaign, and he will return for pre-season training knowing the manager believes he has a future but with something still to prove.
“Playing for Sunderland has been really good for me,” he said. “I joined as a schoolboy three years ago and my football has improved massively since.
“Mick McCarthy handed me my debut before I got injured, so he’s seen what I can do. He is the best manager I’ve played under, he has a lot of experience and I’m sure I can learn a great deal from him.
“Personally, I’ve had a great time at the club and I’m really pleased to have been given another year.”
Ryan, a Republic of Ireland Under-19 international, was one of six players out of contract at the end of the season and involved in talks with the club.
Jeff Whitley, Tommy Smith, Darren Byfield, John Oster – who has rejected an initial offer – and Neil Teggart are the others, while Jason McAteer, Joachim Bjorklund, Phil Babb and Paul Thirlwell are among those who have been told they will not be offered new deals as McCarthy rebuilds for another crack at winning promotion following the club’s play-off semi-final disappointment.