Sunderland boss reveals latest on Josh Maja contract talks after striker nets 11th of the season

Sunderland striker Josh Maja.
Sunderland striker Josh Maja.
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Jack Ross is confident top scorer Josh Maja will commit his future to Sunderland and believes he is in the best place to develop further.

The 19-year-old striker scored his 11th of the season in the 1-1 draw with Wycombe Wanderers at the Stadium of Light, his 84th minute equaliser maintaining Sunderland's unbeaten home form.

Sunderland missed the chance to go top after dropping two points but sub Maja, who came on seven minutes into the second half, again proved his quality.

His current contract runs out next summer and talks are ongoing to tie him down to a new deal. Maja could sign a pre-contract agreement with another club in January when he enters the final six months of his current deal.

Ross remains confident he will stay on Wearside and says he is in the best place to continue his development.

Asked if there were any updates on Maja's contract situation, Ross said: "No, not at the moment."

Ross added: "As a manager, and I think the owners know this, that I am invested in trying to progress the club as a whole.

"Ultimately as a manager you have to be concerned with the very short term, that is the nature of the job.

"I know Josh will be a player with me until minimum January and I would expect him to be here longer than that.

"We can't say that with certainty until everything is resolved from a contractual point of view but I have every confidence he will remain at Sunderland certainly for the foreseeable future."

Asked if he was confident he would sign, Ross added: "I think he will. I have every confidence, what I do know is he is enjoying his football, playing regularly, contributing and you sometimes forget how young he is.

"He played against Morecambe and was younger than some of the players that made their debuts last night, to score 11 goals at his age, he deserves huge credit.

"He is very level headed and recognises other aspects of his game he needs to get better at, he trusts he will get better at them here under our management and I hope that will encourage him to sign.

"I believe we will continue to improve him. On the flip side, there are not that many better clubs than this - if any - in terms of all the other things around it. There are things for him to consider."

Several clubs from the Championship and Premier League have been linked with an interest in in-form Maja.

Asked how do you stop his head being turned, Ross added: "You have a feel for him as a personality and a young man, how he is, he is very polite and humble, and has built a good relationship with me and my staff.

"I have never once had any hint of him being distracted in anyway, today was evidence of that, he didn't start the game but came on and scored.

"He is as good a finisher as I have worked with in and around the box, his ability to hit the back of the net from not always easy opportunities."