Sunderland striker targets first team chance as he reveals generous donation to former club
PromisingÂ striker Connor Shields hasÂ generously givenÂ back to the club that helped get his career up and running - as he targets first team football at Sunderland.
The 20-year-old, who joined Sunderland's Under-23 ranks in January, has made a donation to help Scottish part-timers Albion Rovers continue to fund their youth system.
In an age of multi-million pound contracts and the lavish lifestyles that come with it, modern-day footballers can often get a bad name.
But Shields - who is aiming to catch the eye of Jack Ross in pre-season - proves the stereotype wrong and he says it was a gesture he wanted to make given how grateful he is for the support he received.
"It’s a donation for the club and the youth system,” Shields told the Scottish Sun.
"Last year they were really struggling to keep the 20s going.
"I was at Albion Rovers’ boys club the first year they did the 20s and that’s when I got my chance, under Darren Young.
"When Brian Kerr became manager I had a shot at the first team and it paid off.
"I’ll forever be grateful to them for getting my chance."
Sunderland beat off competition from Premier League and Championship clubs to land his signature.
Shields has enjoyed his first six months at the club and revealed he returned to pre-season training early in a bid to impress the new management team, with the striker hoping for more first team opportunities this season.
"The move has been brilliant," said Shields.
“The first couple of months were about settling in and getting used to training every day with the higher demands.
“It’s been a good challenge, but I played every 23s game after joining.
“Hopefully I can have a good pre-season and do well enough to get noticed by the first team.
“Jack did a brilliant job at St Mirren, so hopefully he can do the same thing at Sunderland. They’re a massive club.
“If he can get us playing the same kind of football St Mirren played he’ll get us back to the Championship and, hopefully, the Premier League.
“He gave young players a chance at St Mirren so hopefully he does the same.”