Sunderland nabbed Irish defender Jimmy Dunne from Premier League side Burnley on loan until the end of the season on Wednesday - a signing which mightn’t steal all of the newspaper column inches, but will most certainly give us a boost in an area that needs it ahead of what will be a testing second half of the campaign.
Dunne has yet to register a single first-team appearance at Turf Moor yet but, at the age of just 21, he’s played plenty of men’s football on his rise through the game - most notably a spell where he achieved promotion and a league winners medal with Accrington Stanley, and then an incredibly fruitful loan period at Scottish Premiership side Hearts this season.
But what is he like? What can we expect, and did he do well with Hearts in the early part of the campaign?
Thanks to Hearts fan Laurie Dunsire, we were able to canvass the thoughts an opinions of a selection of Jambos from Twitter and their main fans forum, ‘Kickback’ - and it’s safe to say that the feeling about Dunne as a footballer from Edinburgh has been overwhelmingly positive.
On why Hearts fans love him...
TogueJambo: “He’s as good as, if not better than, Christophe Berra when he went south - and Berra did great in England. Dunne will have a decent career down there.”
BOAG1874: “He slotted perfectly in to our defence after a long term injury to our captain and star player. He instantly “got” what our club was all about. He gave absolutely everything for the badge, despite having no ties to the club, and played with the passion of a lifelong fan.”
DG_HMFC: “Straight away Jimmy understood exactly what it meant to play for Hearts. He enjoyed learning about the history of the club, and it was that sort of passion and commitment which made him an instant favourite. And that’s not to mention his outstanding ability as a young footballer.”
Daniel McIver: “He instantly wanted to know about the club’s history and fanbase, gave 100% every game, was consistently brilliant and felt like one of us.”
On his best traits as a player...
Amoruso Lets It Run: “Positionally he is superb. He’s not one who needs to cover for himself by having to dive in to tackles - he’s always in right place.”
DSK1210: “I was quite surprised with how comfortable he seemed to be when using both feet - a rare thing in a central defender.”
BOAG1874: “He reads the game very well, is strong in the air and the tackle - and he showed good leadership qualities beyond his years.”
DG_HMFC: “I would say his ability to adapt. He can mix it up with the most physical of attackers, however his ability on the ball to play out from the back was also different class. In Christophe Berra’s absence he stepped up and became a real leader at the back.”
On what his ‘weaknesses’ are...
Sir Gio: “Jimmy is strong in the air and reads the game well. His distribution is perhaps not the greatest, but I wouldn’t say that it’s a weakness. He’s perhaps not going to be ‘top class’, but I envisage that he will do very well in the game.”
BOAG1874: “Very few areas of his game looked weak. He perhaps could work on his distribution but generally he’s an awesome player.”
DG_HMFC: “I genuinely never felt he had any. Of course being young he could make a mistake or two, but that wasn’t down to having any particular weakness.”
Is this good business for Sunderland?
Daniel McIver: “Top quality. I wish we had kept him but, as a club pushing from promotion, you won’t get much better.”
Jambos1983: “Many times when a player leaves fans focus on the players weaknesses and say we could do better anyway as a source of comfort. The fact that pretty much everyone really rates him and still have only good things to say about Jimmy Dunne says it all. He’ll be a superb signing for Sunderland.”
BOAG1874: “It’s a great piece of business for you. If he’s anything like as good as he was for us, he’ll be a fans favourite for sure.”
DG_HMFC: “Great business by Sunderland - you have a top young player on your hands.”
Amoruso Lets It Run: “It’s a better piece of business than Ozturk, who is not suited to the physical aspect of that league.”
On his future in the game...
Olly Lee’s Left Boot: “If Sol Bamba at Cardiff can hold his own in the Premier League, Jimmy Dunne can.”
BOAG1874: “I’d be shocked if he didn’t go on to play regular Premier League football, maybe not for a top six club (as it’s far too early to say) but certainly a mid-table club.”