JACK RODWELL says Sunderland stood out among all the suitors vying for his signature this summer.
More than half of the Premier League, plus Serie A outfit Napoli, were vying to sign Rodwell, with Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini prepared to offload the midfielder.
Rodwell was equally keen to leave the Etihad in search of regular first-team football after making just seven Premier League starts for City, following a £12million move from Everton in the summer of 2012.
But after holding talks with Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet and sporting director Lee Congerton, the Black Cats’ pitch appealed to Rodwell and he jumped at the chance of the£10m switch to the Stadium of Light.
Rodwell told the Echo: “Obviously there was a lot of interest in me out there, but I just felt at this time that regular football is what I needed.
“The manager really impressed me.
“I spoke to the manager, Lee Congerton and the assistant manager and I think that was enough for me to be honest.
“Everything they had to say matched my ambitions. I didn’t really need to go into any more detail.
“I knew what the general consensus was with the manager and I knew that all the players liked him.
“It was a great decision to sign him last season and he proved that at the end of the season.
“It was a decision made between me, my family and close friends. We all thought it was the right move at this time.
“I could have stayed (at City) I could have been on the bench and played here and there and been a bit-part player.
“A lot of players would probably take that - to be playing for the league champions, but that wasn’t for me.
“I want to be playing every week. I can’t go home happy if I’ve not been playing so that was behind my decision to move.
“I am used to this sort of club – it’s similar to Everton so hopefully I can do well.”
The reservations over Rodwell have centred around the 23-year-old’s fitness record after he was plagued by hamstring problems during his first season at Man City - albeit he was more out-of-favour than unavailable under Manuel Pellegrini last year.
But Rodwell believes that given an opportunity of regular first-team football, he will be able to shake off the minor injury niggles.
“This season, hopefully if I can play regularly, I can build up a bit of momentum and those little knocks that you take here and there will become a lot easier to deal with,” he added.
“Injuries have obviously stalled me a little bit but last season I wan’t too bad to be honest.
“I had a few injuries and missed a few weeks of the season but that was it.
“Touch-wood, this season I can stay strong.
“I think the injuries are the only thing that has held me back really.
“I think I’ve got the ability but I’ve just been struggling with injuries.
“You’ve got to get over that and overcome obstacles, and that’s what I am doing.”