Joel Lynch reflects on his Sunderland debut and what he hopes to bring to the team
Joel Lynch may well have played this game in a Sheffield United shirt.
After leaving QPR, Chris Wilder had taken the defender on trial but events conspired against him.
The toughest summer of his career followed, as he explained in remarkable detail shortly after arriving on Wearside.
Now he is back in action and Sunderland look set to benefit from his experience and quality.
For Lynch, the feeling of being in love with football is back again.
“I came here on trial so it was weird when I saw the draw,” Lynch told BBC Newcastle.
“It was all about doing well for Sunderland and it was a good night for the team.
“I’ve not spoken to Chris [Wilder] but he’s a top, top manager.
“All I would ever say to him is thankyou for the opportunity. I pulled my hamstring while I was training with them and it stopped the trial.
“The way football is, I always felt we would come here and get a result. A few months ago I was almost thinking about stopping football, I was in a tough situation. You lose belief when you feel like no one wants you. I got that from Sheffield United which gave me confidence, and now I’m at Sunderland.
“I’m standing on the pitch in the last 10 minutes, heading the ball out the box, just feeling like I love football again. I appreciate the opportunity Sunderland have given me, they were the club to give me the best opportunity to have success. I will do absolutely everything I can to get it.”
It was a superb result for the Black Cats and a big performance from Lynch, who showcased both his organisational skills and no-nonsense defending.
Still short of peak fitness, Lynch knows he has plenty more to offer.
“That’s what I try to be,” he said.
“I try to organise the team, they made it so much easier for me.
“The two central midfielders in front of me were absolutely class, winning balls and being in the right position, picking up players around me. The team performance was really good and it gives us a stepping stone. I’m so happy with how it went.”