What are among the highlights of the season for you?
Being able to settle in quickly at the club. As a player you have to prove yourself even if you have a reputation to upkeep. Obviously it was about being able to show them here at the club what I was capable of and in that way it’s been just brilliant for me. Just to be in a team that is playing to my strength is great. I had been scoring goals at Coventry but they were not creating as many chances.
Why did you go to Sunderland, Do you feel justified by this move now?
I think at the time the opportunity was a good one for me. If you look at where Sunderland were at the beginning of the season and where they are now you realize instantly that they have gone from strength to strength. Plus being able to join up with Dwight and then Carlos has been a bonus. The manager… the kind of man he is also played a part. This was a chance for me to get back into the Premiership and enjoy my football.
What’s Roy Keane’s mood like as a manager?
I saw him as a player and I think we all saw him as the no-nonsense type of guy. He’s exactly the same as a manager but he can relate to you as a player. You don’t want to be late for his meetings and sessions and that’s a good standard to have as a player anywhere. If you want him to treat you like a little guy then he will do that and if you want to be treated as a big man then show him that and you’ll get it in return. If you don’t do the business then he will give someone else a chance.
Is perfection a key at Sunderland?
Our team is a very competitive one. Roy Keane is a perfectionist and we train just has hard as we play. I think playing at Manchester United enables him to bring that kind of confidence to the team. As a manager he also looks after the players. The club on a whole does that. There are no excuses when it’s time to go out on the field and get the job done. This is important for any team.
Are you worried about more strikers coming in?
I think being here is a great chance for me to go back into the Premiership. I have nothing to prove really at this stage but it’s just about doing my best for the club and going back into one of the most exciting Leagues with some of the best players in the world. As a footballer that’s what it is about. Don’t get me wrong, our Division is a good one and competitive but as a player I think playing in the Premiership is always top of the list. As for the added competition, I’m not so worried about it. What is to happen will happen. I just have to maintain my focus and shape.
Have you planned the remaining time of your career. Are you satisfied with one more season in the Premiership?
I want to have a couple seasons in the Premiership but football is a funny game and you never know what can happen, I will like to finish at playing at a high level. I know I have to stay in shape and keep on looking after myself. Hopefully I can get my rewards at the end of the day.
What’s the main advantage of having Dwight Yorke at the club?
The players respect him. Dwight is Dwight anywhere. When he walks into a dressing room, he has that vibe he brings with him that can change the whole mood. If the guys are tense or down, he can help it and if we have a reason to be a bit more focused than usual, he can also take it up a notch and have the same kind of effect on the rest of us. Then he has that smile on his face and you need players like him in a dressing room. He always has the lads up and on the football side of it he knows how to get the best out of the players. His influence is massive in the dressing room and I think that is one of the main reasons the manager brought him here. Especially at this stage of the season where we are right in with a chance of being promoted, you need to have players like him around.
And Carlos Edwards. He has made a big impact right?
Carlos has been massive at the club and is definitely having a wonderful season. He is having the best run of his career in my view. The injury was unfortunate because he was flying at the time and the team missed him. But now he’s back and he will perform. I think Carlos can definitely be on any Premiership team. He has the natural engine and can play at the top level. He has loads of potential and there are always players who don’t fulfill all of it but he has a strong mindset and has a places to go. This is great for him.
Stern you were at one time the bright, rising talent, the one most talked about and now your role is a different one… having to play the support role and more of a leader type with guys like Carlos and Kenwyne Jones moving up the ranks. What’s this adjustment been like for you?
That’s the beauty of the game. As a young player coming into a team or trying to make your name you might get a bit worried when there are others around doing well. It’s natural. It’s not about being bad mind or anything like that because at the end of the day it’s all about the team. For me now, I have matured and when you mature you understand more that there will be players who get better, be better and worth more. Experience is the is the greatest asset and it’s a huge part of the game. Being in the game so long helps you to understand that at times you have to make way and make the best of what you have. I have done it before. I was topscorer at Birmingham and Columbus and I paid my dues at clubs like Nottingham Forest. Personally I can still say I’m performing and can still get the job done so that’s a boost for me. It’s an important phase because this is a funny little game.