Sunderland AFC transfer news: England international opens up on Cats trial as another game rescheduled

England rugby star Toby Flood revealed he spent a trial spell with Sunderland
England rugby star Toby Flood revealed he spent a trial spell with Sunderland

Sunderland have seen plenty of England internationalsgrace their squads throughout history - but perhaps none quite like Toby Flood.

The rugby ace is renowned for his abilities with Newcastle Falcons, but has now revealed that he enjoyed a trial spell with Sunderland while briefly considering a career in football.

Flood later teamed-up with Newcastle United's academy, before turning to rugby in a career which has since yielded 60 international caps - but it's his time with the Black Cats which has caused the most surprise.

“I played football for my local team, Alnwick Town, and I had a couple of years in Newcastle United’s Centre of Excellence when I was 10 or 11,” he admitted.

“John Carver was the coach at the time, who went on to become a first team coach and manager. He’s a top bloke, and I actually bumped into him recently, which was nice.

“What is probably less known is the fact I actually played a couple of games for Sunderland Academy!

“My mate and I went there for what we thought was just a training session, but it turned out to be a trial game. He scored twice and I scored one, and I also had a trial with Middlesbrough before settling on Newcastle United.

“I was there for two years and it was fun, but I never took it that seriously. You could tell there were certain kids who were totally driven and focused on making a career out of it, whereas I just wanted to play because I enjoyed it.

“Once that enjoyment began to wane I moved away from it and gravitated towards rugby, but I did play a few games for them and it’s nice to have done that when I look back.”

Meanwhile, Sunderland have seen another League One fixture rearranged - although this time there has only been a minor adjustment.

The Black Cats' clash with Doncaster Rovers on Good Friday (March 19) has been pushed back for television coverage, with the clash of the promotion rivals now set to start at 5:15pm.

The game at the Stadium of Light will be shown live on Sky Sports.