Jason Denayer insists it was an “easy” decision to swap Manchester City for Sunderland as he looks to prove he deserves to play in the top flight.
The 21-year-old completed his first 90 minutes for Sunderland in the Checkatrade Trophy clash with Rochdale – and now he is targeting a run of games in the Premier League.
Denayer, signed on a season-long loan on deadline day, had no qualms about moving to Wearside after struggling for game time at City.
He comes with a wealth of experience though, having enjoyed successful loan spells with Celtic and Galatasaray over the past two seasons.
In Turkey last year he won the Turkish Cup, while he was crowned the PFA Young Player of the Year, after helping the Scottish giants to a league and cup double the season before.
Now he is determined to prove he has what it takes to be a success in the Premier League.
“No, it was my choice,” Denayer said, when asked if it was a hard decision to leave City.
“It was not a difficult decision because I want to play and play in the Premier League and for me that was the most important thing.
“This was better for me, it was not difficult – it was an easy move.”
Denayer partnered Michael Ledger in central defence against Rochdale, with manager David Moyes keen to boost his fitness levels.
He impressed and is now competing with Lamine Kone and Papy Djilobodji for a start against Everton at the Stadium of Light when Premier League action returns on Monday night.
“I have played in good leagues but not the top league – everyone knows the Premier League is the best in the world,” added Denayer.
“If I can do the same in the Premier League, then for me it will be a big step and a big step for my career too.
“I could not wait and wait and wait (to play) all my life, now is the right time for me and I know I need to work a lot, it is not going to be easy.”
And he is relishing the challenge of competing for a place in the Sunderland starting line-up.
The Belgian international added: “I think there is a challenge everywhere in football.
“You cannot go somewhere where there are just two central defenders and you are then sure you are going to play every week.
“Football is a challenge every time and here at Sunderland there are some very good defenders.
“We are all going to fight for a place in the team.”