Adam Johnson today said it’s a pleasure to be at Sunderland and facing up to the prospect of regular first-team football, writes Graeme Anderson.
The Easington-born winger arrived at the Stadium of Light last week in a £10million deal, drawing a line under a two-and-half stay at world’s richest club Manchester City.
And even though he enjoyed being part of Roberto Mancini’s star-studded squad, he is relishing the chance of being more than a squad player at his new club.
“I’ve got mixed feelings in term of how it panned out for me at City,” he said this morning.
“It was a slightly disappointing end for me but while I was there we did win the league, the FA Cup and the Charity Shield and I got to play in the Champions League – so it wasn’t all bad!
“It’s just that I wanted to play football regularly again and to be able to go out there and just enjoy playing.
“I think as a player when you play one game and are out the next it’s difficult and that was what it was like for me at City.
“There becomes a pressure on you to perform every time you get your chance.
”That’s a situation that won’t be facing him at Sunderland where he’ll be one of the first names on Martin O’Neill’s teamsheet.
And the belief in Johnson’s ability shown by his new manager was one of the factors which helped persuade the England international to return home.
Playing against Morecambe in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night he made a dazzling debut and confessed: “I felt as though I had the chains taken off me.
“Martin O’Neill has been brilliant with me..
“He gives players confidence and I think that was exactly what I needed.
“The minute I spoke to him I felt it was the right move for me.”