RR: I couldn’t help but notice that Declan John hasn’t played an awful lot of football since joining Swansea - he’s made a grand total of seven league starts, and has played only once this season in the Championship, an appearance off the bench. Why do you feel it hasn’t worked out for him?
Steven: John isn’t good enough, is the simple answer. He was only signed as backup to Martin Olsson, and after he got injured and subsequently released, Kyle Naughton has become first choice - even though he’s primarily a right back.
RR: What sort of left back is he? Currently, Sunderland employ a 3-4-2-1 system that sees Denver Hume playing as one of the most advanced players in our team, so there’d be an expectancy for him to be regularly involved in our attacks.
Steven: Declan is good going forward, so he may actually suit playing as a wing back rather than a traditional full back.
RR: John’s career to date has been a faltering one - bar making 20 appearances in the Premier League when a teenager at Cardiff, he’s struggled to make an impression. Now aged 24, he’ll be keen to really make an impression at his next club and give his career the boost that it needs. Do you think that he’s a good fit for Sunderland? Do you think he could earn himself a longer deal here?
Steven: He could be a good fit for a club in League One I would say, and he’s unlikely to feature for us this season, so a move could suit all of the parties concerned.
RR: How was the news that John had arrived from Rangers received when he signed in the summer of 2018? Did fans have big hopes that he’d be a success, or was he signed to provide back up?
Steven: He was signed on a day when four other players were sold, so his arrival didn’t attract many headlines. But the fact we only had one senior centre half and had now signed a back up left back left the Swansea supporters scratching our heads.
RR: I know you’ve not seen an awful lot of him, but what would you say the main strengths and weaknesses are in his game?
Steven: His ability when going forward on the attack is a strength of his, but defensively he can be found wanting which I suspect is why he hasn’t played all that often since arriving at Swansea.
RR: Your manager commented directly on the speculation yesterday, confirming that Sunderland’s rumoured interest in Declan was true.
Steven: I guess it could happen then - he’s clearly not in our plans, as I suspected. We have money issues, so I think we’ll want to shift a few who aren’t playing, and he’s one of them.
RR: For anyone not convinced by this signing, what would you say to them?
Steven: I would say that if you need a left back - and it’s not going to be an expensive loan or purchase - then give him a chance. He needs a run of games, and if that happens he may well show his worth.
RR: Will anyone at Swansea be disappointed to see him leave, or that it didn’t seem to work out for him?
Steven: Not hugely - I think he’s been a little bit unlucky, but when he has played he hasn’t offered us all that much. The fact that he’s a former Cardiff City player probably hasn’t helped him, either!