Sunderland new boy Denayer getting up to speed quickly

Jason Denayer is relishing being back on the football pitch - after making his debut for Sunderland.
Jason Denayer leaps to clear for Sunderland U23s at Rochdale. Picture by Frank ReidJason Denayer leaps to clear for Sunderland U23s at Rochdale. Picture by Frank Reid
Jason Denayer leaps to clear for Sunderland U23s at Rochdale. Picture by Frank Reid

The Manchester City loanee has declared himself 100 per cent fit after coming through his first 90 minutes of the season in the Checkatrade Trophy clash with League One Rochdale.

The 21-year-old became David Moyes eighth signing of the summer transfer window when he arrived late on deadline day.

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He insists he is ready for the challenges of the season ahead, with the centre-back now looking to work on the tactical aspects demanded by boss David Moyes.

Denayer said: “I am happy to start playing games, because I didn’t play a lot of games in pre-season or at the start of pre-season.

“It is good to be back on the pitch and it is very important for me.

“There were a lot of long balls a lot of duels, it was competitive and a good football game.

“Physically, I am really well.

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“I am 100 per cent, I am good. Tactically I need to adapt to what the club wants, that is where I can improve right now.”

Sunderland Under-23s drew 1-1 with Rochdale in their first group game, with Rochdale winning the penalty shoot-out 4-2 for an extra bonus point.

Denayer joined late on deadline day and he admits it was a stressful experience, with the deal not being completed until late into the night.

He knows Adnan Januzaj well, the pair grew up together in Belgium from the age of eight, and he is looking forward to his season-long loan on Wearside.

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The Belgium international added: “Deadline day was a little bit stressful, because in the last hour you are waiting and don’t know if it will happen.

“When it happened, I was really relaxed and pleased.

“I know Adnan very well, since we were eight or nine I have known him. It is good for me because he can help me a lot.

“Everybody is really good, everybody has made me feel welcome and I am quite relaxed and feeling good in the group,” added Denayer, who has a wealth of experience despite his tender years.

He has had loan spells in Scotland with Celtic and last season in Turkey with Galatasaray - where he won the Turkish Cup.

While playing for Celtic in the SPL the year before he was crowned the PFA Young Player of the Year, after helping the Scottish giants to a league and cup double.