SILVER LINING IN RELEGATION AS RYAN MAKES SUNDERLAND'S FIRST TEAM
By Aidan Fitzmaurice ( Evening Herald 28th April 2003 )
Sunderland's relegation from the Premiership has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Irish youngster Richie Ryan.
Ryan made an unexpected first team debut under Mick McCarthy when he played the last 15 minutes of Saturday's 1 - 0 defeat at home to Newcastle.
With big names like Phil Babb, Jason McAteer, Kevin Philips and Emerson Thome expected to leave in the summer, cash-strapped Sunderland will turn to their youngsters for the Nationwide campaign and Ryan (17) has now put himself into contention.
"I was delighted to get a run on Saturday," said Ryan. "It's just a pity the result didn't go our way, but I hope to get another game or two before the season ends."
McCarthy said: " I have only seen Richie in the reserves a couple of times. He trained with us on Wednesday, and you can see he is a player, a footballer. He will be in my squad of players from now. He is promoted."