Black Cats sign American

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Sunderland have signed American midfielder Stuart Holden after he impressed in a recent trial spell.

The 19-year-old had been training with Sunderland for over a month and made a positive impression on Black Cats chief Mick McCarthy.

Holden has been handed a contract until the end of the season, but has the carrot of the possibility of a new deal if he proves himself in the next three months.

The teenager hails from Texas and has represented his country at Under-20 level.

Holden, who played his college football for Clemson, had a trial with Everton earlier in the year and it could prove to be an astute piece of business by McCarthy.

McCarthy, meanwhile, has handed teenage keeper Ben Alnwick a two-year contract extension.

The 18-year-old has made a positive impression in the last 12 months and has been rewarded with the security of a two-year deal.

With Mart Poom being sidelined with injury, Alnwick has acted as a cover for Thomas Myhre and McCarthy believes he will be pressing for a place in the team in the near future.

"The contract extension was part of the initial deal. We said that if he does well he would get the extension and that has happened," McCarthy told the club's website.

"Ben has made progress and this is reward for him. Personally I'm delighted he's signed.

"He's still a young keeper but he's been on the bench for most of the season. If I didn't think he was good enough to play, he would not be on the bench."