Chris Rigg has outlined his targets for the 2024-25 season with a regular starting berth within the Sunderland squad atop of the list alongside playing a role in firing the club back to the Premier League. 

Rigg's future remains unclear at this moment in time, with the 16-year-old currently away on international duty with England's under-17s in Cyprus as part of their European Championship campaign, ahead of what is set to be a summer of negotiations as Sunderland try and wrestle away significant interest in the midfielder. 

Rigg is eligible to sign his first professional deal next month when turning 17 and there are several clubs lining up to take the talented teenager away from Wearside after a breakthrough campaign at the Stadium of Light this season. Rigg made his full Championship debut and scored his first Championship goals this year after being part of the club's pre-season trip to America last summer, where he excelled under former head coach Tony Mowbray. 

The midfielder became a regular during interim head coach Mike Dodds' tenure in the final months of the season and remained one of the shining lights of what otherwise transpired into a forgetful season for Sunderland who ended the year 16th in the Championship table. 

But while Rigg's future at the Stadium of Light has yet to be confirmed, the midfielder has revealed how establishing himself as a regular starter will be the main priority next season, along with a much-improved campaign for the club as a whole as they strive to get back to the top flight.

"Personally it's been a good season for me. I made my Championship debut, scored my first Championship goals, but mainly it's just been about having those opportunities and just being around [the first team]," Rigg explained.

"It was mad because I didn't really know I was going [on the pre-season tour] until a couple of weeks before. I thought I was going to go just to get a bit of men's experience and come back and maybe be on the bench a few times, but it's a lot different. I'm trying to cement my place. 

We Are Sunderland: Chris Rigg became Sunderland's youngest ever league goalscorer in the 5-0 win over SouthamptonChris Rigg became Sunderland's youngest ever league goalscorer in the 5-0 win over Southampton (Image: PA)

"I want to be a regular starter," he added. "I'm trying to hit many targets in terms of goals and assists and try and get us back in the Premier League."

Manchester United are just one of the clubs linked with a high profile move for Rigg this summer with, as revealed by We Are Sunderland, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS group enacting a series of major changes at all levels at Old Trafford following their successful takeover of the footballing operation of the club. 




Any club wanting to sign Rigg would have to make a financial offer to Sunderland which could lead to an independent tribunal if the club and player could not agree on their stance. A tribunal would take a number of factors into account including first-team appearances, the time spent within a club’s academy set-up, contract offers made and international caps won at various youth levels, with Rigg having already totalled almost 30 England caps prior to his involvement in this month's under-17s European Championships.

Rigg has been named captain of Greg Lincoln's England youth team which has been another huge advocation for the success the teenager has achieved this season which included his first league goal for Sunderland in the 5-0 win over Southampton in September. Having scored during the club's League Cup tie against Crewe Alexandra, Rigg became the club's youngest ever league goalscorer when heading in Sunderland's fifth of the game a month later. 

"The night before [the Southampton game] I was nervous - I was just trying to calm myself down," he said. "After, when you've scored the goal, you're on a high, you don't know what to do - especially in the moment as well.

"It's the best feeling. It's something you can't really put into words, scoring a goal is the best feeling ever."

Rigg has struck up an immediate rapport with supporters at the Stadium of Light, who have already serenaded the teenager with his own song on the terraces, with the young midfielder set to be a star on Wearside, should he remain in the North East.

"I've got nothing but love for the fans," he said. "I laugh every time I hear the chant but you can hear it when you play. I'm trying to concentrate but you can't help but just laugh about it."

We Are Sunderland: Chris Rigg is the subject of significant interest this summerChris Rigg is the subject of significant interest this summer (Image: Ian Horrocks)

Rigg's future was recently discussed by interim boss Dodds in the final week of the season where he admitted to being in the dark regarding the midfielder's future before reiterating the potential available to Rigg by staying on Wearside, with the possibility of regular Championship football next season.

"I'm not in any of those type of discussions so I don't know exactly what the situation is but I love to Riggy to bits and he knows my thoughts," said Dodds. "If he doesn't sign I think he's mad - that's my personal opinion.

"If you're a young footballer then Sunderland is just a huge opportunity right now in the trust we put in young players and the chances we give them.

"His performances are slowly maturing and if he feels, right now, that there's somewhere else better for him, I'd like to see where that is to be honest. I just think this is a wonderful club to be a young player at the moment."