Who is Ross Stewart? - The reported Sunderland transfer target who has been linked with Sheffield Wednesday and is set to leave Ross County

Sunderland have reportedly made a move for Ross County striker Ross Stewart – but who is he?
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The 24-year-old will be out of contract at the end of the season and County boss John Hughes has recently admitted the club would be open to offers before next week’s deadline.

Reports North of the border have claimed Sunderland have opened talks with County over a move for Stewart, a player who has scored 28 goals in 81 appearances in all competitions for The Staggies.

We take a closer look at the frontman.

Ross Stewart of Ross County scores a penalty against Celtic.Ross Stewart of Ross County scores a penalty against Celtic.
Ross Stewart of Ross County scores a penalty against Celtic.

What’s his background?

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Stewart started his career in the Scottish junior leagues with Ardeer Thistle and Kilwinning Rangers before signing his first senior contract with Albion Rovers in 2016.

One year later, the striker joined Scottish Championship club St Mirren on a two-year deal, yet it was his impressive loan spell with Scottish League One club Alloa Athletic which helped prompt a move to Ross County in 2018.

At first, Stewart wasn’t a regular starter at Dingwall but forced his way into the side as County won promotion to the SPL.

When fit, the 24-year-old has been a regular starter, but he did miss a part of last season with a hamstring injury and hasn’t played since December because of a similar issue.

What type of player is he?

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Stewart is regarded as County’s talisman and has scored six goals in 24 appearances in all competitions this season – although five of those have been penalties.

He can play as a centre forward or in an attacking wide role and will shoot on sight when the opportunity arises.

But, after scoring 11 goals for County in all competitions last campaign, Stewart’s conversion rate has dropped this season.

The forward has attempted 40 shots this term but scored with just 5 per cent of his efforts.

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Last season, Stewart registered 36 efforts at goal in the league and converted 19.4 per cent of them, leading to reported interest from Championship teams such as Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham in the summer.

SPL clubs Aberdeen and Hibernian have also been credited with interest.

What’s been said about him?

With Stewart’s contract set to expire in the summer, County boss John Hughes has admitted the player will leave the club this year.

Still, with The Staggies fighting to avoid relegation, Hughes hopes he can keep the forward for a few more months.

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“It is evident Ross won’t be here next year but I have a real feeling coming from him that he wants to be part of keeping this club in the Premiership,” said Hughes earlier this month.

Hughes, who was appointed in December, added: “He seems quite happy to be here the rest of the season, as would we be. But if a club comes in with a bid of £500,000 then we have a decision to make.

“I have had no complaints about Ross as he leads from the front. He said to me what will be, will be.

“I haven’t seen much of him as in my first game he came off with a hamstring injury.

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“People see him and think he is just a big target man but he is a great footballer. He can look after the ball, his touch is very good and he has an eye for goal.”

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