Jimmy Dunne admits it was an easy decision to join promotion-chasing Sunderland given the size of the club, fanbase and scope for him to improve as a player.
The 21-year-old centre back has joined on a loan deal from Burnley until the end of the season and will bolster Jack Ross’ options at centre-back, providing increased competition for first choice pair Jack Baldwin and Tom Flanagan.
Dunne, who had a successful loan spell at Hearts in the first half of the campaign, believes Sunderland is the perfect club to help him develop his game further.
“I have had some previous loan experience and wanted to step up and keep developing my game,” said Dunne.
“This is a good place for me to do that.
“Hearts was similar to this club, the fans really get behind their team and I know this club take pride in that. I got a taste of that and the support here is huge.”
Sunderland smashed the League One attendance record on Boxing Day when 46,039 watched the 1-0 win over Bradford City at the Stadium of Light.
Dunne, who knows Donald Love and Reece James from his time at the Manchester United academy, didn't think twice about joining Sunderland, adding: “It feels like there is not much to think about when there is 46,000 on Boxing Day, it grabs you, it is a massive club.
“I used to come and play here at Academy level, the facilities here and training ground, it was a no-brainer.”
Dunne joined Burnley in 2016, aged just 18, and since then the defender has enjoyed a successful loan spell at Barrow and Accrington Stanley, where he helped Jon Coleman's side win promotion from League Two last campaign.
Dunne added: “I loved it at Accrington, we went on an amazing journey and finished it by winning the league.
“It is a tremendous club, it was vital to my development. I am pleased to have joined Sunderland and look to develop further and improve my defending further.
“The lads here have been on a good run and winning a lot of games. Long may it continue.
“There are a couple of players here that I grew up watching and will now play with some of them.
“I am hopeful I will get to learn a lot from them and ask questions and learn as much as I can from those experienced pros as possible," he told the club website.