Scotland international McFadden training with Sunderland

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SUNDERLAND have had Scotland striker James McFadden training at the Academy of Light this week, writes GRAEME ANDERSON.

The 29-year-old is a free agent after being released by Everton, which means the free agent could join the Wearsiders outside the window if Martin O’Neill decides to pursue an interest.

The Black Cats boss told the Echo last week that he had not ruled out bolstering his squad with further signings before the transfer window reopens in the New Year and McFadden, who is understood to have trained with Sunderland on Monday, is one potential option.

He began his career at Motherwell, but it was at international level where he really caught the eye to earn a £1.25m move to Everton in 2003.

He made 139 appearances for the Toffeemen, but almost half of them came from the bench.

He scored 18 goals in all competitions in five years before joining Birmingham in a £4.75m deal in 2008 but suffered cruciate ligament damage which took a year out of his career and he left the Blues in 2011.

He made eight appearances in a short-term return to Everton last season.

O’Neill said that with the transfer window closed, free agents were potential options for squad strengthening if there were injuries before the January transfer window. And McFadden is likely to be one of a string of out-of-contract players the manager runs the rule over.