Newcastle United’s DeAndre Yedlin says he was desperate to return to the North East – after a “great experience” at Sunderland.
Yedlin spent last season on loan at the Stadium of Light.
And the defender returned to the region in the summer to sign for the Magpies, who paid Tottenham Hotspur £5million for him.
Yedlin didn’t directly cross the Tyne-Wear divide, having returned to his parent club before signing for Newcastle.
But the USA international – who forged some strong friendships on Wearside – was aware of the significance of the move given his association with the Tynesiders’ rivals.
“Obviously, it’s something that I thought about,” said Yedlin.
“But, at the end of the day, I had to make the best decision for me.
“That’s what I did. I have nothing against Sunderland.
“I had a great experience there, and made great friends there, but now I’m at Newcastle, and that’s where my focus is.”
Yedlin was keen to return to the North East, having been settled off the pitch during his season at Sunderland.
I had to make the best decision for me. That’s what I did. I have nothing against Sunderland. I had a great experience there, and made great friends there, but now I’m at Newcastle, and that’s where my focus is.DeAndre Yedlin
The Seattle-born player feels “comfortable” in the region. “That was a big factor in my decision,” said the 23-year-old.
“When I first came to London, it was a bit different to what I’d expected.
“I thought moving to a big city would be a very cool thing for me.
“But Seattle’s not the biggest city. It’s more like Newcastle. I think I’m more comfortable here. That was a big factor in my decision.”
Yedlin, preparing for the USA’s historic friendly against Cuba in Havana on Friday night, is unfazed by the demands of the 46-game Championship.
And the right-back has labelled the experience of working under Magpie manager Rafa Benitez as “unbelievable”.
“Especially as a younger player, this league is great as there is so many games,” he said.
“It’s a great move for me to come here, and working under Rafa has been unbelievable.”
Yedlin is grateful for the support and encouragement he has had from USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who had two playing spells in the Premier League with Tottenham.
“It’s been my goal since I was a kid to play over here,” said Yedlin, who went to the 2014 World Cup.
“Jurgen has shown so much trust in me.”
Newcastle’s next match is at home to Brentford next Saturday.