Sunderland head coach shares first impressions of Chris Rigg and drops early position hint

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Chris Rigg is looking to push for even greater first-team involvement at Sunderland this summer after signing his first pro contract

Régis Le Bris has hinted that he is ready to move Chris Rigg into a more central position at Sunderland, though the new head coach says he is still assessing the 17-year-old and the squad more widely.

Rigg handed the Black Cats a huge boost earlier this month by signing his first professional contract at the club, a three-year deal that draws a swift and early end to any speculation of a transfer exit this summer. His focus is now on pre-season breaking into the first team on a more regular basis and while it’s early days for Le Bris, he has enjoyed what he has seen in training so far.

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“I’ve had four or five sessions, so it’s still quick to understand who he is,” Le Bris said at his first press conference.

“He played as a right winger when he first played with the first team. I think he’s more of a No.8, maybe a No.10 and maybe a No.6 also. During the training sessions he is very interesting. He has a good level of energy, he’s very aware of the details, which is important, and I think he could be a very interesting player for us.”

Rigg played regularly towards the end of last season but mostly on the right wing, with then interim boss Mike Dodds explaining that it was the best way to introduce him to the intensity of Championship football.

“I don't see that as his position [in the long run]. I think, as a 16-year-old, to play Riggy in the middle of the pitch [now] is a lack of care for him and his development,” Dodds said.

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"I think him playing out wide and rolling inside is a perfect balance between trying to find him the ball, trying to get him to show everyone what he can do but also not put him right in the melting pot.

“If you go through a lot of the England team, where do they make their debuts? A lot of the debuts are outside of that cauldron. I think he'll be a midfielder long-term and I think as time goes on, he'll be a really important player for us."

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