EX-SUNDERLAND defender John Egan believes his summer decision to join Gillingham is paying off after settling into a pattern of regular first-team football.
Egan was highly-rated as he made his way through Sunderland’s academy ranks, yet the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international was released in the summer without making a first-team appearance for the Black Cats.
The 21-year-old, who spent the final three months of last season on loan at Southend, had a host of Football League clubs chasing his signature this summer, but opted to join ex-Leicester manager Peter Taylor at Gillingham.
And after starting every League One encounter so far for the Gills, Egan realises that he has been more fortunate than several of his former Sunderland team-mates, with ex-Black Cats pair Ryan Noble and Adam Reed starting for non-league Darlington 1883 last weekend.
Egan, who previously had loan spells at Bradford, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United, said: “I’m only 21, but I have been to a few clubs already.
“I think when you’re young and at a big Premier League club like Sunderland, if you are not playing in the first team you need to get out on loan.
“You want to play at 3pm every Saturday and play in the big leagues.
“A few of my mates up at Sunderland are very good players but haven’t had that break. It can be hard after that.
“One of the reasons I came here was that I wanted to play every game and show people what I am capable of.
“The manager said ‘if you come here you’ll get a chance’ and that he believed in my ability.
“I’m personally very happy with how I’m playing and how I’ve gelled in with the lads and the team.”
Egan was one of two promising centre-halves released at the end of their Sunderland contracts this summer, with Louis Laing opting to join Nottingham Forest on a free transfer.
Sunderland had high hopes for Laing during his teenage years, but a series of injuries hampered the 21-year-old’s progress.
But, after failing to make a competitive appearance for Forest so far this season, Laing joined city rivals Notts County on loan yesterday.
* Don’t miss tonight’s online Football Echo - 41 pages for your best read of the weekend – it’s available on sunderlandecho.com from around 6.45pm
We have launched a FREE football app covering Sunderland AFC, Newcastle United and Hartlepool United.
For all the latest news, gossip and match coverage straight to your mobile and tablet, download the Football Echo now from here: