Sunderland’s James McClean signs long-term contract

James McClean.

James McClean.

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SUNDERLAND today tied down exciting young star James McClean on a new and improved long-term contract.

The 22-year-old has agreed a three-year deal which keeps him at the Stadium of Light until the summer of 2015 and supersedes the previous deal which brought him to Sunderland in a £350,000 move from Derry City.

The deal is a recognition of the youngster’s increased value since breaking into the team in Martin O’Neill’s first game in charge, against Blackburn Rovers at the Stadium of Light in early December.

Since then, the winger’s currency has soared with a string of eye-catching displays in his 19 first-team appearances so far, which have yielded four goals from McClean.

McClean said: “I’m thrilled to be here.

“I’m really enjoying my football and to have earned a new contract is a dream.

“I’m over the moon to see my next three years with Sunderland.”

Sunderland manager O’Neill added: “I am absolutely delighted that James has committed himself to the club.

“He has had an explosive start to his career here at Sunderland and long may it continue.”

Derry-born McClean began his career with local side Trojans FC before coming through the youth ranks at Derry City, making his first team debut for the Candystripes in 2008 and amassing 73 league appearances.

His form for Derry City saw him selected for an ‘all-star’ Airtricity League XI for last summer’s Dublin Super Cup which first brought him to Sunderland’s attention.