After signing for the Black Cats last week, the 31-year-old went straight into Lee Johnson’s starting XI and helped his side grind out a 1-0 win against Portsmouth in League One at the Stadium of Light.
“He is a good, solid player who has experience in the Premier League and the Championship,” Phillips told Football Insider.
“You would like to think that he will thrive in League One as he will not be facing the quality of opponents he has previously.
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“I’m not surprised that he’s done well in his first game. I think it could turn out to be a shrewd bit of business.
“Sunderland have three big lads at the back in Batth, Doyle and Flanagan. They’re all very dominant.
“I think Sunderland will be a strong outfit from now until the end of the season.”
“One or two things have fallen flat,” the head coach of Oxford explained when asked on broader transfer business amidst links to Jermain Defoe.
“I’ve had some great conversations this week with some really good people who want to be here for the right reasons, but there have been some conversations that have been the wrong reasons.
“There’s no one person that’s bigger than the club.
“There have been some players I’ve spoken to who are dead excited about coming here.
“But should I be chasing people, should I be going backwards and forwards? Shove it where the sun don’t shine.
“There have been two or three conversations this week where I thought ‘wow, I didn’t expect that’. That’s really exciting, really refreshing.
“You have these conversations and some people lift you to dream and some people drag you in the doldrums.
“A player who skips on this pitch is far greater than one I have to drag on to it.
“If you want to cross that white line in a yellow shirt it’s got to mean something to you. It means an awful lot to me, my players and the fans.”