Sunderland announce young trio sign first deals with club

Sunderland have announced three youngsters have signed their first pro deals with the club.

Friday, 1st July 2022, 5:21 pm

Zak Johnson, 17, Harrison Bond, 18, and Harry Gardiner, 18, have all penned their first senior deals on Wearside.

The trio are expected to continue their development at Sunderland with the Under-23 side and they have all been reacting to the news.

A club statement read: “Defender Johnson signs professionally until 2025 just a year into his scholarship, having regularly featured for the Club’s U23s in the Premier League 2 during the 2021-22 season.

Sunderland head coach Alex Neil.

"Johnson also became the youngest outfield player to make a first-team appearance for the Lads in almost 50 years last October, as a late substitute in the Papa John’s Trophy against Manchester United Under-21s, aged just 16 years and 141 days.”

Johnson, who has signed a three-year deal, said: “It feels surreal, and so special to have signed professional terms with my hometown club.

“I’m so excited to get started this season, and this has only given me more drive to keep pushing and improving.”

Goalkeeper Bond puts pen-to-paper on a one-year contract – the club having an option to add a further year.

A regular in the Under-18 side, he has also featured in the Under-23 squads.

Bond added: “I’m delighted to sign a professional contract with the club I’ve grown up at and where I’ve learnt so much. I’m so thankful to Pruds [Mark Prudhoe], who was the first face I saw when I first entered the building, and to have that brief experience with the first team is even more motivation for me.”

Forward Gardiner, who has signed a one-year deal, has been a regular goalscorer with the U18 side.

He too has featured for the Under-23 side and on his deal, said: “It feels amazing to sign professionally here, a really proud moment for myself and my family, who are Sunderland fans.

"Whilst I’ve been fit, I feel that I’ve come on well as a player here and this is just the start.”

The club holds an option for an additional year.

The deals follow new contracts at first team level for Bailey Wright, Lynden Gooch, Anthony Patterson and Patrick Roberts.