DeAndre Yedlin says Sunderland fans reacted well to his move to bitter rivals Newcastle – apart from some social media abuse.
The full-back revealed that he had doubts about joining the Magpies last summer.
But, after a successful first year on Tyneside, the USA international now feels the drop to the Championship has “paid off”.
Having spent a solid year in the Premier League on loan with Sunderland, Yedlin admits he was apprehensive at the prospect of leaving parent club Tottenham Hotspur for St James’s Park.
And the main sticking point was not that he was about to move to the Black Cats’ rivals, but due to the fact he was unsure about playing Championship football.
But having secured promotion back to the top flight, with a second tier winners medal around his neck, Yedlin has absolutely no regrets.
“At first, I didn’t like the idea of going down a league,” he told the Washington Post while on international duty this week.
“I know a lot of people would question what I did, the risk I took, but I felt it was the necessary step in my career.
“We went up – and that was the objective all along. It paid off.”
Yedlin had no qualms about making the switch between the North East’s two major clubs but that was not always the case with the fans.
The USA international had played his part in keeping Sunderland in the Premier League under Sam Allardyce, with the former Black Cats boss helping him to improve his defensive game.
Yedlin was tipped to move to the Stadium of Light permanently last summer, but with Allardyce leaving and the pre-season upheaval, the move never came off.
The fact that he eventually joined the club’s closest rivals instead, however, didn’t sit well with some supporters.
The full-back, who cost United in the region of £5million from White Hart Lane last summer, said: “The passion is like no other place in the country.
“It was mostly on social media [abuse from Sunderland fans].
“I’d see Sunderland fans in the streets; they haven’t been bad to me.
“There will be the occasional fan asking why I would go to Newcastle.
“I don’t expect them to understand. It’s my career and I had to make a choice.”
Having established himself as the club’s regular right-back last season, 23-year-old Yedlin impressed Newcastle fans with his pace and lung-busting runs from deep. After wibnning his spot, he added a real threat down the right-hand side.
Yedlin says he hopes to build on his first season in black and white, by producing the goods in next season’s Premier League and beyond now that he’s finally settled at a club.
“There’s something to be said for not worrying about the next move,” he said.
“It’s good to finally be settled in one place and hopefully for a long time.”