Sunderland delight as Wickham pens new contract

Sunderland have received a boost with the news that Connor Wickham has signed a new contract which keeps him at the club until the summer of 2019.

The England Under-21 international endured a slow start to life at the Stadium of Light following an £8million move from Ipswich Town in 2011, scoring just one goal in 28 Premier League appearances. H was sent on loan to Sheffield Wednesday on two separate occasions and once with Leeds United, before returning to his parent club in March 2014 with the Black Cats in relegation trouble.

Wickham played a starring role in ensuring the Wearside club avoided the drop into the Championship, scoring twice in a 2-2 draw with eventual champions Manchester City, once in the 2-1 win over Chelsea, and two more in a 4-0 success over Cardiff City. He even supplied Sebastian Larsson with an assist as his side recorded a first win against Manchester United at Old Trafford since 1968.

With his contract set to expire at the end of the 2014-15 season, there was plenty of interest in the striker during the summer, most notably from West Ham United who failed with a £4million bid. And Sunderland will no doubt consider this to be absolutely the right decision, after they managed to tie Wickham to a new four-and-a-half-year contract ahead of the January window.

“I’m delighted that Connor has committed his future to us for the next few years,” manager Gus Poyet told the official club website. “After his contribution at the end of last year, he has continued to improve and become an important part of our team. He keeps learning, he is able to adapt to different positions up front and he is enjoying our philosophy of play so I’m really looking forward to keep working with him for the benefit of our club; this shows clearly the way this football club wants to progress.”

Wickham has established himself as a first team regular for the Black Cats following his heroics of last season, and has featured in all 15 of their league matches this season, scoring two goals. He will also likely start this coming weekend, when he will have an opportunity to show Sam Allardyce what he missed out on in the summer when his West Ham side travel north on Saturday afternoon.

How important is Wickham to Sunderland, and just how good could he become? Let us know what you think by joining in with the discussion below.

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