Sunderland boss explains why he wanted Carl Winchester as midfielder becomes first January signing

Lee Johnson says Carl Winchester has been ‘playing below his natural level’ after making the midfielder his first Sunderland signing.

The former Forest Green Rovers midfielder has signed an initial two-and-a-half year deal to join the Black Cats, adding another option in midfield for Johnson.

Johnson worked with the Northern Irishman at Oldham Athletic, saying that he was attracting interest from top clubs at the time.

Hide Ad

Sunderland’s head coach has also said that data analysis showed him to be a strong option for the Black Cats.

Carl Winchester has become Lee Johnson's first Sunderland signing

“After assessing our squad and establishing the profile of midfielder we wanted to bring in, we evaluated all the elements, inclusive of the data, and felt that Carl was the right player to add to our squad,” Johnson said.

"He is a good player who is in the prime of his career, and his versatility means he can play in a number of positions, ensuring he will also bring depth to our squad. When he was a young player at Oldham, every top club wanted him, which shows the potential he has always had.

Hide Ad

"He has represented some good clubs, but in terms of division, we believe he has been playing below his natural level.”

Winchester said he would ‘give his all’ for the Black Cats.

Hide Ad

"It’s a massive club and once I heard about the interest, there was only one place I wanted to come,” he said.

"I’ll give my all for the team and I’ll go out there and wear my heart on my sleeve. The Head Coach believes in me and I believe in myself. I’m coming into my prime, so I’m hoping I can settle in well with the lads and kick on from there.”

Hide Ad

Winchester will not be able to make his Black Cats debut on Tuesday night, when Port Vale visit the Stadium of Light in the first knockout round of the Papa John’s Trophy.

The midfielder has already played for Forest Green Rovers in that competition and so will have to wait for the trip to AFC Wimbledon next weekend to push for selection in Lee Johnson’s matchday squad.

Hide Ad

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Sunderland AFC coverage 365 days a year.

Hide Ad

This depth of SAFC coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription to our new sports-only package here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor