Corry Evans on Jonny's reaction to his Sunderland move and the key factors behind it
Corry Evans has revealed how trips to watch his older brother in action at Sunderland left a lasting impression.
The 30-year-old signed a two-year deal to become the Black Cats' second summer signing, and he has linked up with his new team-mates in Edinburgh ahead of a pre-season friendly against Hearts at Tynecastle on Saturday afternoon.
Evans' older brother Jonny had two hugely successful loan spells on Wearside, and remains a player popular with the red-and-white army.
"Jonny had a great time here," Evans told safc.com
"He loved that period of his career and I think he'll always have a soft spot for Sunderland.
"Likewise, myself I remember coming to games. I remember his debut away at Preston, being in with the away fans at Deepdale. I saw a game up at the Stadium of Light as well, against Chelsea I think it was.
"I'd have been 15,16 but I remember thinking then that I'd love to come back here one day, the fans, the stadium, the size of the club.
"Luckily, I've managed to do that.
"He was delighted and just said, 'you've got to go. It's a no-brainer'."
Evans spent eight years at Blackburn Rovers before his departure this summer, including one season in League One during which the club won promotion under Tony Mowbray.
The midfielder outlined the factors that had been key in his move, including the facilities on Wearside and Lee Johnson s plans for the new season.
"I had a great time at Blackburn," he said.
"I really enjoyed it there.
"Great people, great club and I can see something similar here at Sunderland. It seems like there's really good infrastructure around the place with the new owner.
"The people seem really friendly so I just can't wait to get going.
"I met Lee Johnson twice and he went through the tactical side of how he wants to play.
"It really appealed to me and I'm looking forward to getting on the training pitch and starting to learn that he wants from his team."
After the deal was concluded on Thursday Johnson outlined the critical role he sees Evans playing in his side over the course of the new campaign, and said that his experience made him an ideal replacement for experienced midfielder Grant Leadbitter.
"Corry is an established international and he comes in to anchor, and be the glue in, our midfield," he said.
"He carries out a special role and it’s something that we’ve needed – we obviously lost a very good one in Grant Leadbitter, but we have been able to replace him with a long-standing international.
"He will make other players around him better and his maturity, experience and game-understanding will really set him apart.”
The arrival of Evans will help to plug a significant gap in Sunderland's squad, with Max Power and Josh Scowen also released at the end of last season.
Dan Neil is currently part of the first-team group ahead of the new campaign, while Carl Winchester and Luke O'Nien are other options.