SUNDERLAND have confirmed the signing of young winger Rhys Walsh from Glentoran, with the Black Cats having submitted the necessary paperwork ahead of last night's 11pm deadline.

The youngster has signed a two-and-a-half year deal at the Stadium of Light after signing for an undisclosed fee.

Sunderland are said to have closely tracked the 17-year-old Northern Ireland youth international and made their move late in the January window rather than wait until the summer, with a string of other English clubs monitoring the youngster's progress.

Walsh had a brief stint training with Sunderland last year, when he clearly impressed.

The winger is represented by Lee Mudd, who is also the agent of Sunderland defender Trai Hume.

Walsh has played for Glentoran's first team in the Irish Premiership, domestic cup competitions and in a Europa Conference League qualifier earlier this season.

He's also represented Northern Ireland at Under-17 and Under-19 level.


Academy manager Robin Nicholls said: “Rhys is a player we have coveted for some time and he spent a period with us on trial earlier in 2023.

"He is an exciting forward, who can operate on either wing or play centrally, and he will join our Under-18 set-up for the remainder of the season.

"We are delighted to welcome him to Sunderland and after gaining senior experience this season with Glentoran, we hope that he will be able to settle quickly and hit the ground running.”

Glentoran boss Warren Feeney said: “Obviously I have mixed feelings about losing Rhys as obviously he’s a player who I know would have gone on to do great things for Glentoran as he was already becoming a big favourite here.

"But on the other hand it’s a brilliant opportunity for Rhys as he’s joining a big club with a great record for developing young players and giving them their opportunity.

"Rhys is a very exciting player who can lift a game with his skill and directness, but he is also a strong and hard-working lad. I’m certain he’ll seize the opportunity and do very well there."

Earlier this season, Feeney said of Walsh: “The wee lad excites people; he’s got an edge about him.

“He loves to run at defenders and take them on. Rhys is one of those lads who gets bums off seats and excites people. He’s got it all, he goes past people as if they are not there.”