April 22, 2024

Sunderland signed young winger Rhys Walsh from Glentoran on deadline day, and we wanted to learn more about him.
Sunderland Nation has been told that new acquisition Rhys Walsh is a ‘fearless wide player’ who will not be intimidated by any opponent.

The 17-year-old was a surprise deadline-day signing from Northern Irish club Glentoran, and he will now be quickly integrated into the Black Cats’ under-21s setup.

Walsh was a highly sought-after player, with Sunderland competing with other Championship clubs for his services, but what can fans expect from him on the pitch?

“He’s a wide player who plays on the front foot and enjoys standing up and beating players,” Walsh’s agent, Lee Mudd, told Sunderland Nation exclusively.

“He has an art of being able to go either side using both feet – has been involved at senior level and thrived.”

Mudd also represents Sunderland fullback Trai Hume, who has had tremendous success on Wearside since arriving from Linfield in January 2022.

Hume is already on the radar of some elite clubs, and one of the reasons he has done so well at Sunderland is his no-nonsense, powerful mentality.

Mudd recognizes Walsh’s mindset, which bodes well for his chances of following Hume’s lead on Wearside.

His arrival demonstrates Sunderland’s growing appeal to young players as a result of their dedication to talent development.

“[Walsh] is a humble youngster who is also brave when he plays. He won’t be intimidated by anyone.

“He had options, but he wanted Sunderland because of the ethos of playing young players.”

Walsh joins Sunderland, a club with a rich tradition of Northern Irish players. Sunderland’s roster included Johnny Crossan, Jonny Evans, Jimmy Nicholl, George McCartney, and Phil Gray.

Belfast and Sunderland have a lengthy history of shipbuilding that extends beyond the game.


EXCLUSIVE: Sunderland have signed 'a fearless wide player who won't be  overawed by anyone' - Sports Illustrated Sunderland Nation

That history was carried over into football when another guy who moved from Glentoran to Sunderland, Northern Ireland great Billy Bingham, joined the Black Cats solely to continue the shipbuilding apprenticeship he began in Belfast in the Wear shipyards.

Bingham, also a winger, joined Sunderland from Glentoran as a teenager and went on to make over 200 appearances for the club. When he eventually lost his place, Amby Fogarty, a winger from Glentoran, was brought in to replace him.

“I have mixed feelings about losing Rhys as obviously he’s a player who I know would have gone on to do great things for Glentoran as he was already becoming a big favourite here,” Warren Feeney, the manager of Glentoran, told the media.

“On the other side, it’s a fantastic opportunity for Rhys because he’ll be joining a huge club with a strong track record of developing and providing young players opportunities.

“Rhys is a highly exciting player who can change a game with his skill and directness, but he is also a solid and hardworking young man. I’m confident he’ll grasp the opportunity and do exceptionally well.”

Walsh, then, is following in some great shoes, and with Trai Hume, Dan Ballard, and Jonny’s younger brother Corry Evans already in the Sunderland squad, the Northern Irish influence is undeniable.

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