'A bright future': Sunderland sign striker prospect from South Shields after impressive trial period
South Shields academy forward Harry Gardiner has signed a two-and-a-half-year scholarship with Sunderland.
Gardiner joined Shields’ academy in 2020 and caught the attention of several professional clubs before joining the Black Cats.
Sunderland offered the forward an eight-week trial before signing him on a long-term deal.
South Shields academy manager Wess Brown told the club’s website: “We were only a short part of Harry’s football journey but what a pleasure it was to be the final stepping stone on his journey to a professional club.
“We are very happy to see Harry reach another level, but on the other hand sad to lose such a great player and person.
“The first time I watched Harry I knew he would be perfect for our scholarship programme.
“He is a quiet lad on and off the pitch but his intelligence shouts louder than any player I’ve seen for a long time.
“Harry has a bright future and has excelled in our environment, and I hope he does the same at Sunderland AFC.
“We wish him all the luck in the world on his new venture.”
Gardiner added: “I’ve absolutely loved it at South Shields.
“It’s a family club with so much togetherness running through it.
“The coaches at both academy and first-team level were great with me, as were all of my team-mates.
“It’s a great club and I’ll definitely get to as many games as I can in the future and keep in touch as I loved every minute of it.
“You always knew there was a pathway to the first-team too because the first-team coaching staff would regularly watch us train, which always gave us that added boost.
“I feel like I’ve improved so much as a player as a result of my time at South Shields, particularly with my knowledge of the game, and I can’t thank everyone at the club enough for making my time there so valuable and enjoyable.
“I’m excited to start my journey with Sunderland as they were my boyhood club and to now get the opportunity to play for them is a special moment for me.”