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.