When Sunderland's Nectarios Triantis was told he was starting against Birmingham after Dennis Cirkin injury

Nectarios Triantis made his first Sunderland start during the Black Cats' 3-1 win over Birmingham City.
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Nectarios Triantis says he only found out he was starting Sunderland’s 3-1 win over Birmingham around five minutes before kick-off - but was still able to let his family know back in Australia.

The 20-year-old Aussie wasn’t named in the original starting XI but was brought into the team after Dennis Cirkin picked up a hamstring injury in the warm-up. That meant Triantis was handed his first Championship appearance for the Black Cats following his summer transfer from Central Coast Mariners.

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When asked when he knew he was playing, Triantis told the Echo: “About five minutes before kick-off but I am mentally ready and switched on. I was ready to go from the start but it was a very late call.”

Even so, there was still time for the defender to message his family across the other side of the world. “They were up for it,” Triantis replied when asked about his family in Australia. “They are always up for every Sunderland game so when they knew I was starting they woke up the whole of Australia to come and watch the game. I just saw on Whatsapp that they were all up and it was a good moment for me.”

Triantis was able to compose himself playing in front of a crowd of 40,922 at the Stadium of Light. “I’ve played in front of crowds that big but I don’t think ever that loud to be honest,” he added. “The Sunderland fans here are crazy in the best way possible and you could feel them in every moment. You can see every week the fans are great home and away. It was just good to be able to play in front of it.”

Triantis will now travel overseas after being called up to play for Australia’s under-23s team for two friendly fixtures during this month’s international break. “Off to Saudi Arabia to play Saudi Arabia and Qatar,” the centre-back explained when asked what the next few weeks will look like. “Two more good games and hopefully two more wins.” 

Sunderland will next be in action when they travel to Plymouth on Saturday, November 25, before a home fixture against Huddersfield four days later.