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Stern John has revealed it was Roy Keane's brand of "proper" football which made him want to finally join Sunderland at the second attempt this season.


Keane succeeded where his chairman Niall Quinn had failed by bringing the 30-year-old centre-forward to the Stadium of Light as the sixth of his January signings.

After his debut at home to former club Coventry City on Saturday, which saw his new team win 2-0, John revealed he came close to joining the Black Cats in the previous transfer window.

"The move was supposed to happen earlier in the season when the chairman was in charge (as manager)," he said. "He was trying to get me but it didn't happen and now he's finally got me.

"I spoke to Roy Keane for a while and also Niall Quinn and everything they told me was what I expected of them. Now I just need to get on and help Sunderland back into the Premiership."

As well as citing all the usual attractions for joining the Black Cats - the stadium, fanbase, infrastructure and the lure of playing for Keane - John also pointed to the club's style of play as a big draw.

The Trinidad and Tobago international was bought primarily to provide a more robust alternative when the Wearsiders' pretty passing fails to penetrate - but it is Keane's commitment to the type of football he was taught by Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson which most excites John.

"Watching the game (against Crystal Palace) on Tuesday night I really enjoyed the way the team tried to play total football, passing the ball and keeping possession," he said. "They're playing proper football, the way football's supposed to be played, and it's enjoyable to play in. Sunderland are attractive and try to play into the striker's feet. A lot of teams will be scared to come to Sunderland."

Having played in the Premiership with Birmingham City, another motivation for his £250,000 move was John's belief the Black Cats can give him the top-flight football he feels he merits. That John, who started Sunderland's early-season drop towards the relegation places by scoring against them for Coventry on the opening weekend, should be so positive about his new team's promotion prospects underlines the rapid transformation since.

"I feel I am a Premiership player and I want to play there again before my career is over," he added. "Sunderland also belong in the Premiership so I want to get them there as quickly as possible.

"There are a lot of new players in from the start of the season to now, it's a whole new team. The manager has brought in the players he thought could get them back in the Premiership." Although John admitted it was strange playing against a club he had left less than a week earlier he enjoyed the experience, not least because a 2-0 win means Sunderland are now one place outside of the play-off places.

"It was strange playing against Coventry but as soon as you cross the white line you're wearing the Sunderland shirt and you have to play for the team," he said.

"I would have loved to have scored on my debut but I think it was a good win."

John, one of three Trinidad and Togabo internationals in the starting line-up, believes familiar faces have helped him adapt to life on Wearside.

"I've settled in really well because apart from the T&T players there are a lot of others I've played with before like Wardy (Darren Ward) and Kenny Cunningham," he said.

"It's easier when you go to a team and you've played with a few of the players before because you know their strong points."