HIGHLY-RATED defender Louis Laing has signed a new contract at the Stadium of Light as one of 11 academy products handed fresh deals with Sunderland.
Laing impressed during Sunderland’s pre-season tour of Germany last summer and was included as an unused substitute for the first team on seven occasions.
The 19-year-old, who made his Black Cats bow in May 2011, was sent out on loan to League One Wycombe, where he was unable to help the Chairboys avoid relegation during 10 starts.
But the centre-half remains well-regarded on Wearside and has been handed a new contract, along with seven other regular members of the club’s reserve team squad.
Goalkeeper Ben Wilson, defenders Blair Adams, Liam Marrs and Jordan Watson, along with midfield trio Roarie Deacon, James Armstrong and Adam Reed have penned fresh deals after previously making the step up from academy scholar to young professional.
Like Laing, Wilson (Gateshead), Adams (Northampton) and Reed (Brentford and Leyton Orient) all spent time away from Wearside on loan last season.
They will be joined in the second-string squad next season by defensive duo Connor Oliver and Anthony Callaghan, and striker Jordan Laidler, who have all signed their first professional deals with the Black Cats after graduating from the youth team.
The reserves squad will also include summer signings David Ferguson and Wade Joyce after successful trials at the Academy of Light.
Defender Ferguson was at Darlington last season and links up with new Sunderland academy coach and former Quakers boss Craig Liddle, while midfielder Joyce was on the books at Bury.
All will be hoping to catch Martin O’Neill’s eye during pre-season, although the Sunderland manager must first address the task of appointing a new second string boss.
Reserve team coaches Keith Bertschin and Stephen Clemence left to join former Black Cats boss Steve Bruce at Hull City last weekend, with O’Neill now having the chance to appoint his own man to steer the development of the club’s youngsters.