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Michael Beale picks out Sunderland wonderkid Chris Rigg's 'biggest strength'

Sunderland have seen a whole host of promising talents come through their ranks over the years. The academy has produced some high quality young players while their recruitment model is focused on bringing prospects they can develop into first-team. Among the numerous local talents to catch the eye in the academy is midfielder Rigg. After starring in the youth setup at a young age, the 16-year-old has already played 12 times for the Black Cats’ senior side, eight of which have come in this season’s Championship campaign.
Rigg made his latest Sunderland appearance off the bench in the win over Plymouth Argyle, playing 25 minutes in the valuable win. Michael Beale’s side make a swift turnaround to face Huddersfield Town on Wednesday night, and the boss spoke abut the 16-year-old starlet pre-game. As relayed by reporter James Copley, Beale picked out Rigg’s ‘biggest strength’ as his mentality. He also highlighted how much it means for the Hebburn-born talent to play for the club.

🗣 Michael Beale on Chris Rigg: "His mentality is his biggest strength.
"He is a boy from this part of the world and it means a lot to him… I put him and Jobe on to win duels."
Adds that he has faith in his mentality. #SAFC
— James Copley (@JamesCopley_) February 13, 2024 Kicking on under Beale
It’s clear that Rigg is a player highly rated by Beale. Tony Mowbray handed him his debut and his outings in a Sunderland shirt have shown he’s a talent that could become a real star in the years to come. His abilities will see him catch the eye, but it’s maintaining a strong mentality that will help Rigg maximise his potential. With the Black Cats boss recognising the strength of his mindset, the midfielder looks well equipped to enjoy a career at a high level.
Sunderland will be keen to see him kick on under Beale but at only 16, they’ll be managing his development and first-team game time carefully. When needed though, the manager doesn’t fear bringing him into action.
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