Young keeper among five players to start contract talks with Sunderland

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Jack Ross says communication over new contracts has started with five Sunderland players, including young goalkeeper Max Stryjek.

Denver Hume, Josh Maja, Lynden Gooch and George Honeyman are all also out of contract at the end of the current campaign and Ross is eager to see them put pen to paper.

Max Stryjek in action during the 2017 pre-season campaign

Max Stryjek in action during the 2017 pre-season campaign

"Denver, Josh, Lynden, George and Max Stryjek are all out of contract in the summer,” said Ross.

“We’re keen to keep all of them at the club and the communication with their representatives has begun. How quickly that process will go, we’ll wait and see.

"It’s not just about Josh, we’re keen to keep all these younger players who have come through the club because they’re good enough to keep helping us progress. Hopefully, they’ll be part of that.

“It’s important for these young lads to get rewarded. It happens in other lines of work, where people get promoted, but in football, there’s not really that mechanism," Ross added.

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"It’s so much more complicated than it used to be in terms of how players reach decisions about where their future lies.

"As a manager, the most simplistic way to look at it is that I want them to be in my squad. I ask the club to reward them with a contract, that’s probably as much as I can do. If there’s any persuasion from me, it’s in terms of how I see them in the playing squad. Then it’s down to how much that matters to them.”

Stryjek joined Stewart Donald's old club Eastleigh last month and has made an instant impression.

Three clean sheets and a penalty save in his first three appearances saw him named Player of the Month for September.

The 22-year-old is yet to make a senior competitive appearance for the Black Cats.