'Not everyone’s cup of tea' - Everything you need to know about Sunderland target Carl Winchester
Sources at the Forest Green Rovers end have told the Echo they understand a deal is close to being finalised.
Here, we take you through everything you need to know about the potential new Sunderland recruit.
What experience does Winchester have?
The 27-year-old has 259 first-class games under his belt as a professional, having made his debut at Linfield in Northern Ireland before making the move to England to join Oldham Athletic during the 2010/11 season.
Winchester went on to make over 100 League appearances for Oldham during a six-and-a-half season stay.
He then went on to sign for League Two Cheltenham Town in the January of 2017 on a free transfer.
Winchester’s next move came to a club also in League Two, Forest Green Rovers, where he remains.
Winchester has been capped throughout Northern Ireland’s youth system and has one full cap for his country, which came against Wales in May 2011.
Has Winchester played for Johnson before?
Yes! Should the move happen, it will be the second time Lee Johnson and Winchester have worked together.
Sunderland’s head coach worked with the Northern Irish midfielder at Oldham Athletic.
Interestingly, Winchester also played under Lee's father Gary while he was on the books of Cheltenham Town from 2016 to 2018.
What has Winchester said about Sunderland’s head coach previously?
Speaking in December 2019, Winchester said: “I think I’m playing my best stuff now, as well as that one season I had under Lee Johnson in the 2014/15 season,” explained Winchester.
“When I was at Oldham, in seven years I think I had nine managers and you’re not everyone’s cup of tea.
“So I broke in really early and played games here and there, but it was when Lee Johnson came in that I really done well.”
Recalling an outstanding season with Johnson five years ago, Winchester added: “I remember coming back in pre-season and I was thinking about going out on loan to get some playing time.
“But that pre-season, he [Johnson] called me in and said I’d been playing that well, that he couldn’t drop me and I just took it from there.”