Joleon Lescott is ready to put a turbulent 12 months behind him, and is thrilled to have the chance to work with David Moyes again.
Lescott was part of an Aston Villa side that went through an acrimonious tumult to the Championship last season, before moving to Greece to link up with AEK Athens.
It wasn’t a case of him having to do any selling to me, he asked me if I was ready to come and I said yes.
The 34-year-old made only four appearances, however, before an injury saw his contract terminated by mutual consent in November.
He had been out of the game since then, but jumped at the chance to return to the UK and link up with David Moyes.
Lescott said: “It wasn’t the greatest experience for me in Greece. Being over there put things in perspective as far as the things we take for granted here – the PFA, the FA, and the organisation of the Premier League.
“It is not the same over there.
“The things you take for granted do not happen over there, and it was difficult towards the end.
“There wasn’t much help provided, so it wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
“At the start of the month I was training with Man City, I was working there and they were kind enough to give me the use of their facilities when I needed them.
“I was just waiting and hoping that someone would take the plunge, nothing happened for a while.
“Then in the space of two days I suddenly had three options and it was a no-brainer to come and play for Sunderland and work with David Moyes again.
“It wasn’t a case of him having to do any selling to me, he asked me if I was ready to come and I said yes.
“It was a Thursday night, and I was here on Friday morning.”
Having being part of that Aston Villa side which struggled so badly in the Premier League last season, Lescott is fully aware of the scale of the challenge that faces his new team-mates.
He is confident they can survive, however, and is more than happy to heap the pressure on Jermain Defoe.
The centre-half and the centre-forward go back a long way and he knows as well as anyone that Sunderland’s top scorer will thrive on the responsibility.
He said: “Yes of course. That’s the aim, and when you have a player like Jermain Defoe – I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, but I will – you have a chance.
Not many teams in the Premier League have a Jermain Defoe in their side, and certainly not ones that are fighting relegation, so if we can keep him fit and healthy I’m sure he can help us stay up.”
Lescott knows there is no such pressure on his shoulders, candid enough to admit on radio weeks before signing that he would not be any club’s first choice.
Still, he is confident that he can make an impression, however long his Wearside stay proves to be.
He said: “To be honest, I put more pressure on myself than any manager or teammate can do.
“I knew that, where I am in my career, I wasn’t going to come here and go straight into the team but I am happy to have an opportunity to prove myself.”