ANY visit of Manchester United these days inevitably brings to mind the returns of our former loan stars Danny Welbeck and Johnny Evans.
Both were great for us and not only have they retained affection for us, but Sunderland fans still think a great deal of them.
How great would it have been if we’d been able to get them two? Not that it was ever going to happen.
To me, the two are a perfect illustration of how well the loan system can ideally work.
Too often, loans are seen as something of a patchwork manoeuvre, a make-do or mend effort.
But in both their cases, it proved to be a win-win-win deal.
Sunderland got two great players put at their disposal, the players themselves got the first-team match appearance necessary for them to fulfil their potential and Man United had players returned to them who were far better footballers than the ones they originally let out.
READ the full Gary Rowell column in Tuesday’s Echo