Marc Wilson admits Sunderland’s Irish contingent was a big factor in him opting to move to Wearside.
The 30-year-old has started both games since signing a one-year deal on deadline day, and has also revealed former Black Cat Jonny Evans gave a crucial and ringing endorsement of the club.
Evans was a fan favourite on Wearside after two hugely successful loan spells, and played with Wilson when the Ireland international was on loan at West Bromwich Albion last season.
He said: “I spoke with a few of the boys. I spoke with Jonny Evans, he had high praise for the club and loved his time here.
“I know all the Irish boys in the dressing room and they all had good things to say about the place. When I heard all that, it wasn’t a hard decision for me.
“It is a massive club that got relegated last year and they want to do well, there are some good players in there with good experience.
“It is a good side with good potential. If we can get everybody firing in the right direction, then that is the main thing.”
The former Bournemouth and Stoke City man is confident that the familiar faces in the dressing room will help him to settle in quickly ahead of a crucial season for both himself and the club.
“I think it does help. I have known Ado [McGeady], John O’Shea, Darron Gibson for years now and we have all played together,” he said.
“That does help, it is a big positive.”
Wilson has made an encouraging start to his Sunderland career despite two defeats, particularly impressive in the narrow defeat to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.
Despite Sunderland’s struggles last season and a sense of low morale on Wearside, Wilson insists he was left in no doubt that he wanted to join the club to rebuild his career after a difficult time on the South Coast.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone who had a bad word to say about the club. If people had then you would start to think is this the right move for me?” he said.
“But that wasn’t the case. Every word was positive. I am delighted to be here and I am looking forward to the training sessions.
“I have got the hunger back for the game. Due to injury and other reasons, it hadn’t been there for the past year but I feel hungry now and want to get back out playing.”
Wilson is likely to keep his place in the side when the Black Cats travel to face Hull City at the KCOM Stadium, though Simon Grayson will be hoping that Lamine Kone will also be available for selection.
The Ivory Coast international was substituted at half-time in the 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United, a game in which he started with the captain’s armband, due to a groin problem.