David Moyes has consciously targeted fringe players at former club Manchester United to boost Sunderland’s ranks after three arrivals from Old Trafford so far this summer.
And Sunderland skipper John O’Shea believes the upbringing that Adnan Januzaj, Donald Love and Paddy McNair have received at his own old stomping ground will serve them in good stead at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland splashed out more than £5million to bring 21-year-old duo McNair and Love to Wearside last week, with Januzaj then joining the pair on a season-long loan.
Moyes – dismissed as United manager in April 2014 – freely admits that he immediately looked to any players considered surplus to requirements by Jose Mourinho, due to the culture at the club and ability to handle performing under pressure.
“If you play for Manchester United, they need to be able to play in front of big crowds, they need to know how to handle situations. It is the same at Sunderland,” said Moyes.
O’Shea has come through that system himself and the 35-year-old, who made the switch from United to Sunderland five years ago, points out that a host of players are now forging successful careers in the Premier League, who have not made the grade at Old Trafford.
He told the Echo: “The coaching that they have received, not from the first team, but from Warren Joyce (U21 coach) in particular will have been excellent.
“When you look at Leicester’s Danny Simpson, Danny Drinkwater and Matty James, and James Chester at Aston Villa – they were all young lads at Man United who have gone on to great things, some of them internationals.
“That’s the type of work ethic that Warren breeds into them.
“And when they come in from the U21s and they are getting a little taste of first-team action at United he really makes them understand that, although they will have a chance in the United first team, they can also have a career.
“He tells them that things might work for them at Man U, but even though it doesn’t, they can still have a fantastic career elsewhere.”
McNair, Love and Januzaj – who all made their Sunderland debuts in last weekend’s defeat at Manchester City – were all only whipper-snappers when O’Shea joined the Black Cats in a £5m deal in the summer of 2011.
But the Republic of Ireland international still has many contacts at Old Trafford and has received positive reports about the trio.
“They have come in and been able to settle in straight away, which shows how the development process at United works,” he added.
“I probably just missed them at United.
“But I’m still in contact with a few people down there and I was given very good reports about both of them, and obviously Adnan I was familiar with.”