Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Striker Is Happy to Be Stay with Cats; Young Star Maja Pledge His Future to Wearmen

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Striker Is Happy to Be Stay with Cats; Young Star Maja Pledge His Future to Wearmen

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES HUNTER Sunderland writer james.hunter@reachplc.com @JHUNTERCHRON

JOSH Maja insists he is happy at Sunderland as the Black Cats prepare to open contract talks with the in-form teenager.

Striker Maja is in the final year of his deal on Wearside and manager Jack Ross said recently tying him down is a 'priority' for the club.

The fact the 19-year-old academy graduate has begun the season by scoring seven goals in the first nine league games has only made the situation more urgent, with that kind of form bound to have caught the attention of potential admirers. However, Ross will be heartened by Maja's response when asked if he would be happy to stay, the youngster saying: "Yes. I'm happy at the club right now and I'm focused on getting it back to where it should be in the Premier League.

"It's a big year for us, we want to win promotion and win the league, and if we stick together as a team then we can do that."

Sunderland faced a similar situation in the summer with Joel Asoro, but in that case the Sweden under-21 international decided to move on and made a PS2m move to Swansea City - where he is still waiting to score his first goal for his new club.

Maja's decision to stay at Sunderland has worked out better. He added: "My goals have shown the manager and the club what I can do, so as long as I stay grounded more opportunities will come,.

"It was Joel's decision to move on and that's part of football - you Turn to Page 56 FROM BACK PAGE have to get on with it. I wish him all the best.

"He's getting on with his career and I'm just getting on with mine."

Maja scored in each of Sunderland's first four league games which earned him the August EFL Young Player of the Month award and led to praise from ex-Black Cats striker Jermain Defoe who tweeted 'Love that! Keep doing your thing @joshmaja'.

Maja said: "Jermain was a big role model for me and he supported me while I was moving up to the first team, so to get that support from him was nice. …

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