, Opinion: Sunderland should hand teenage star deserved start today as dismal season nears an end

Opinion: Sunderland should hand teenage star deserved start today as dismal season nears an end

Sunderland have endured a tough season and frankly, many of those on Wearside will be looking forward to it coming to an end a little over a month away.

Sunderland will have been hopeful of really kicking on over the 2023/24 campaign. A young and often injury-hit squad made it to the play-off semi-finals last season, but they’ve been a far cry from those levels this time around.

The Black Cats are 12th in the Championship table, with 13 points now separating them and the top six. Continued poor performances alongside questionable moves from the club hierarchy have resulted in a tough season.

However, while these remaining eight fixtures are effectively dead rubber games, there can still be important takeaways and steps made.

One move Sunderland should make is to hand teenage star Chris Rigg a regular run in the lineup, starting today.

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, Opinion: Sunderland should hand teenage star deserved start today as dismal season nears an end

Who is this?

Developing a new star

Rigg made his first Championship start against Leicester City earlier this month and was in the XI for the Southampton game too. The 16-year-old then dropped to the bench against QPR, but with Cardiff City up this afternoon, interim boss Mike Dodds should reinstate him to the side and keep him there for the majority of the remaining games.

The midfielder has shown he’s going to be a real talent to keep an eye on over the years to come and giving him a run in the side over the end of this season could be key to his development. Ending the campaign on a high can gear him up for a fruitful pre-season, perhaps paving the way for him to lock down a starting spot ahead of 2024/25.

It would be a big chance for Rigg to show just what he’s capable of at a senior level when given meaningful, regular minutes. A consistent run of starts should allow him to get into his flow and really settle into first-team football – something he has already shown he has the abilities to do.

A strong end to the season for Rigg could help Sunderland end a dismal season on a positive note. His inclusion in the starting XI this afternoon would be a welcome sight for the supporters who have had little to cheer about in recent months.

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