SUNDERLAND prospect Martin Smith has signed a new contract which will keep him at the club until 2017.
The 19-year-old midfielder has been tied down to a long-term contract after continuing to impress in the ranks of the Black Cats’ Under-21 side.
The new deal will delight the teenager who is desperate to be a success with his hometown club.
He joined Sunderland’s Academy at the age of just eight and has been progressing through it ever since.
Smith has played in all five of the young Black Cats’ games this season, scoring once, and the Redby-born youngster enthused: “It’s great being here, there’s no better feeling.
“When you join, you’re little and you’re just progressing and improving all the time.
“From under-eight to under-14 you’re just working every year to get another year with the club and you just keep trying to improve and learn from others.”
Smith has seen many of his team-mates come and go during his time at the club but is determined to be one of the few who make it all the way.
“Some lads fade away and some stay so there have been ups and downs but you’ve just got to have your head right and also a good mentality and good enthusiasm,” he said.
“The staff at the Academy have been great towards me and they always do what’s best for us as players; we’re always looked after and they’ve been there for us through everything.
“I always come off the pitch and look at where I can improve my game and where I could have done better.
“I love being on the ball and playing, I like playing with both my right and left foot and it’s important I pass the ball and create things.
“I think as a midfielder, it’s about improving on your priorities – winning your tackles and your headers and competing.
“The club always push you on if they feel like you can handle it.”
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