JOHN Mensah believes his glowing reference for fellow Ghanaian Sulley Muntari has already been justified despite defeats in both the new signing’s outings.
Mensah played a key role in persuading Muntari to join Sunderland on loan until the end of the season from Italian giants Inter Milan.
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce had asked Mensah’s opinion of the 26-year-old and the centre-half duly spoke with Muntari about the benefits of moving to Wearside.
Since arriving, ex-Portsmouth man Muntari has been impressive in his two games for the Black Cats despite being rusty from a lack of match fitness. And even though his outings at Stoke and against Spurs resulted in defeats, Mensah is convinced the midfielder will be a huge asset for the remainder of the campaign.
Mensah told the Echo: “We all know Sulley played for Portsmouth and did well – helping them to win the FA Cup.
“Then he went to Inter and did well as well and has scored goals for the national team. It was Sunderland’s decision to bring him here, but they asked my opinion.
“He’s a great player and he’s starting to demonstrate that at Sunderland.
“When Sulley came, he didn’t have a lot of fitness. But he played against Stoke and then played for the national team last week.
“He’s going to still make a few mistakes because he’s not played many games. But I believe he’ll still show his quality while he is here.”
The capture of Muntari took Sunderland’s Ghanaian contingent up to three with Asamoah Gyan joining Mensah at the Stadium of Light in the summer.
Mensah believes Sunderland are now the most popular Premier League outfit in the West African nation despite the likes of Michael Essien, John Pantsil and Richard Kingson also plying their trade in England.
And the capture of Benin international Stephane Sessegnon has added to Sunderland’s appeal across the continent as a whole, according to on-loan Lyon defender Mensah.
The 28-year-old added: “It’s very good to have another Ghana player here and I’m so excited.
“The most important thing obviously is to work together as one team. It’s not about nations.
“The whole of Ghana likes Sunderland now. I was getting calls in the dressing room after the Spurs game.
“They are all following Sunderland and I think they’re the most popular team in Ghana now.
“Since Stephane has come from Benin that has helped as well because Benin is a big country too.”