James McClean Signs Sunderland Contract Extension

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11: Blackburn player Mauro Formica (l) battles with James McClean of Sunderland during the Barclays premier league game between Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers at Stadium of Light on December 11, 2011 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Sunderland have signed young winger James McClean through the 2014/15 season.

22-year-old winger James McClean has been something of a revelation for Sunderland this season. Having failed to feature at all under former manager Steve Bruce, McClean was immediately thrown into the fray by Martin O'Neill and his emergence as a player has by and large coincided with Sunderland's return to form. Small wonder that he's being rewarded with a new contract.

The deal will see McClean signed through the 2014/15 season and will presumably represent a major raise for the former Derry City man. Manager O'Neill is clearly very happy that one of his most influential players will be sticking around for a while:

I am absolutely delighted that James has committed himself to the club. He has had an explosive start to his career here at Sunderland, and long may it continue.

While McClean is a great story, Sunderland still have plenty of work ahead of them. Their charge up the table has rather petered out of late, and this summer will be a busy one as they look to bring in enough quality talent to secure their place as a top-half team. McClean's a start, but only a start.

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