Derry winger James McClean has received another boost in his bid to earn a Euro 2012 call-up.
The 22-year-old former Northern Ireland underage star has agreed a lucrative new contract at Sunderland.
McClean has signed a new deal that ties him to the Stadium of Light club until 2015.
The contract, a reward for his impressive first season with the club, is a significant boost ahead of the Euros.
McClean won his first Ireland cap as a late substitute against the Czech Republic last month and is desperate to make the European Championships squad.
This new deal, agreed with Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill, will help.
McClean said: “I’m thrilled to be here. I’m really enjoying my football and to have earned a new contract is a dream. I’m over the moon to see my next three years with Sunderland.”
Manager O’Neill said: “I am absolutely delighted that James has committed himself to the club.
“He has had an explosive start to his career here at Sunderland and long may it continue.”
Why all Irish men’s beards are red