JAMES McClean will get the remainder of 2011 to impress Steve Bruce before the Sunderland manager decides whether to send the winger out on loan.
McClean became Sunderland’s 10th summer signing this week when he arrived in a £350,000 move from Irish outfit Derry City on a three-year deal.
The 22-year-old, who trained with Sunderland for the first time on Thursday, arrives on Wearside as one of the hottest prospects in the League of Ireland after attracting the attention of Premier League outfits Wigan and Everton.
But McClean is not expected to be an instant contender for the first-team and is set to spend the formative stages of his Sunderland career adapting to English football with the Black Cats second string.
The likes of Jack Colback and Jordan Henderson, who have graduated from Sunderland’s reserve side to the first-team under Bruce, have done so after productive loan spells.
But Bruce is eager to see McClean in the flesh before considering such a move and points to the example of David Meyler as a player who was able to make a seamless jump to the first-team.
The Sunderland boss told the Echo: “I just want to have him here to start with and be around us for the next six months, up to Christmas anyway and then we’ll see.
“I would have thought he’ll be playing for the reserves until then. He’s one that we’ve looked at and we’ve decided to sign him.
“I wouldn’t envisage him coming straight into the first-team, but you never know with these Irish kids.
“They’re desperate to do well and it’s important we bring in players like that to help develop the squad.
“If he has a meteoric rise like Meyler, then he’ll be all right. He’s been a late starter, one of those whose only growing into himself now at 22.
“He’s got a lot of talent and he’s naturally wide left, which there aren’t many of around.”