Brendan Galloway is hoping to put the frustrations of last season behind him by playing a key part in Sunderland’s Championship campaign.
After a protracted pursuit from Newcastle United last summer, Galloway opted to stay in the Premier League and join West Brom.
He returned to Everton late in the season, however, having made just five appearances.
The 21-year-old (right) is set to play a prominent role on Wearside and says he is a stronger person for the experience.
He said: “There was a lot of frustration last season.
“I had to deal with that, I have learned how to deal with things off the pitch mentally. I have become a stronger person and now I am looking forward to the challenge.
“I learned last season that you have to get your head down, work hard, do extra things and stay focused because you never know if you will get the opportunity.
“I had to remain patient. That has made me stronger and hopefully it shapes me up well for the future.
“There was a chance I could have gone to Newcastle last summer, but now I prefer Sunderland anyway!”
Galloway has been a regular in the early pre-season schedule, though he was substituted at half-time on Saturday following a torrid opening 45 minutes.
He has nevertheless shown signs of promise and is excited at the prospect of working with Simon Grayson.
He said: “It’s been really good, it’s nice to get to know everyone in the squad.
“It happened very quickly. As soon as I found out Sunderland were interested, I knew what a club it was and I heard good stuff about the manager, so I wanted it to happen. It is a great opportunity for me.
“I had a long chat with Ty and a few words with other people, apparently the manager is really good to work with.
“He will want us to work hard and then you get in the team, hopefully we can all work hard to get this club to where it belongs.”
Grayson intends to use Galloway both as a left-back and also the left-sided centre-back in a back three.
Galloway is happy in both roles as long as it means valuable first team minutes.
“Originally I was a centre-back but I have learned how to play left back, I have a lot of experience there and hopefully it puts me in good shape that I can play both, at the moment I am just happy to be on the pitch giving my all,” he said.