Ex-Sunderland and France defender Pascal Chimbonda signs for non-league Washington FC
Ex-Sunderland defender Pascal Chimbonda has signed for non-league Washington FC - and club bosses say his arrival is a "statement of intent".
EBAC Northern League Division One side Washington swooped to land the signature of former France international Chimbonda, who also played for Wigan Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur, Blackburn Rovers and Doncaster Rovers during a varied career.
Chimbonda, who played for Sunderland in 2008 under Roy Keane, made 16 appearances during a six-month spell at the Stadium of Light.
He is now back in the North East playing in the ninth tier with Washington and is looking forward to making an instant impact.
The 38-year-old is in line to make his home debut for the club against Penrith at the Nissan Sports and Leisure Complex on Saturday.
Chimbonda said: "I’m very happy to be here and I’m just looking forward to playing. I spoke with the manager and we had a good chat and we started from there.
"I think the team need more character, like when you’re winning one-nil and there’s three or four minutes of extra time you have to be solid and don’t concede a goal.
"I think the more you play games the more confidence is coming and the players are more focused on the football pitch."
Washington boss James Clark said: "It came about through a third-party contact. We’ve had associates that we’ve known for a long time so when the opportunity came up to sign Pascal it was something I couldn’t turn down.
"Since the start with the new board they’ve looked to help me as much as possible and support everything I’ve wanted to do and this really is a statement of intent for the league from Washington.
"He has come in to be a player and he’s come in to step up the level as a player for the squad and as he’s stated he can help those players, the younger ones that we do have in the squad, to grow.
"They have great technical ability and a lot of will and a lot of heart.”
Saturday is Non-League Day with fans urged to take in a non-league game with no Premier League or Championship football due to the international break.
Ticket prices for Washington's game are £3 for adults with free entry for concessions and Under-16s.