April 22, 2024

Michael Beale has detailed his plans to boost Chris Rigg’s playing time in the second half of the season.
Michael Beale has stated that Chris Rigg is expected to play much more prominently between now and the conclusion of the season, having been impressed with the youngster since his arrival in Wearside.

Rigg was left out of the group that traveled to Middlesbrough on Sunday, instead playing 90 minutes in an FA Youth Cup defeat to Swindon Town on Friday night. However, Rigg pleased Beale with a cameo against Stoke City the week before and is expected to rejoin to the senior side within the next week.

Rigg made his first senior debut since September’s win over Norwich City, however he missed a few weeks due to the U17 World Cup.

“I was pleased with Riggy when he came on against Stoke,” Beale explained.

“He obviously missed out at the weekend because he was competing in the FA Youth Cup, but I was really impressed with him. We don’t want to talk about their age because we trust in their abilities, but for someone so young, he shown that he wants to be active, not simply play a minor role.

He wants to play. He does not want us to consider his age since he believes he is prepared, but we do take it into account. I believe it was inevitable that you would see him more in the second part of the season, but it depends on a variety of variables, doesn’t it? You always assumed it would be that way, but fitness and shape are also factors to consider. He came in for Stoke and contributed; he has a no-fear mindset. He’s a lefty, which provides a great balance to the club. That is critical for any possession-focused squad, like as ours.

 

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“It’s very hard for a player of his age to be any further forward than he is,” he said.

“I’m not sure who he went away with for the World Cup, but I’m very confident that he’s further along at his club than many of those players, if not the furthest forward in terms of appearances, given that he trains with the first team every day. I admire his mentality; it’s that of a little guy from the neighborhood who is living his dream, and it’s critical that he maintains it because I believe it will carry him a long way.

You can talk about his technique and passing ability, but I believe his mental power is his greatest asset. The question for all young players is how long they can keep it. He can contribute today; if we play with two eights high or a flat three at times, he can provide us with tremendous balance on the left side.”

Rigg has made eight senior appearances this season in all competitions, scoring two goals. He is still in the first year of his scholarship, but Sunderland hopes to sign his first professional contract when he turns 17 later this year.

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