Huge boost for Lee Johnson as key Sunderland player signs new contract
Dan Neil has outlined his ambitions to represent Sunderland in the top tiers of the English game after signing a new long-term deal.
The talented midfielder has signed a new contract that commits his future until the summer of 2025.
Neil’s first professional deal had not been due to expire for another eighteen months but Sunderland have moved to reward his outstanding form this season.
The 19-year-old, a boyhood Black Cats fan, has been almost ever-present in a superb run of form for Lee Johnson’s side.
He said he was ‘delighted’ to have signed a new deal.
“Everyone knows that I love this football club and I love playing for it,” Neil said.
"It’s a dream come true to be playing in the first team and I’m loving every minute of it, but I want more and I want to be playing in the higher divisions for Sunderland.
"I want to be part of getting this club back to where it belongs and there’s nowhere I would rather be, so I’m delighted to have extended my contract.”
Head coach Johnson said there is ‘so much more to come’ from Neil, who will turn 20 at the end of next month.
Neil’s new deal underlines the new regime’s commitment to developing academy talent, having secured a significant recent extension with Elliot Embleton.
Johnson said the club were ‘delighted’ to have shown their faith in Neil, and to reward his immensely encouraging progress.
“I’m really pleased for Dan and for the football club,” Johnson said.
"We are excited and encouraged by his progression over the past year and we are enjoying having an overview of his hard work, but there is so much more to come from him and that is incredibly exciting because he is already a very good player.
“We are delighted to have made this type of commitment to a player who loves playing for Sunderland, is hungry for success and continuously proves his desire to improve through strong application.”
Having impressed in Papa John’s Trophy action last season, Neil has now made 17 appearances in all competitions across the current campaign so far.