RR: Tony Gallacher only spent a brief stint with Toronto. Can you remember how people reacted to the news of a signing from Liverpool?
Michael Singh [Waking The Red Fanzine]: It was special. MLS is still a very up-and-coming league, and rarely do you see players - even academy players - join MLS sides from world renowned teams.
Fans were excited not only about the loan move, but also about the prospect of this deal potentially paving the way for future deals between the two clubs.
RR: What first impressions did he make upon arrival? I watched a really impressive interview he did with the Toronto YouTube channel, and he came across as a really measured and intelligent guy...
Michael Singh [Waking The Red Fanzine]: He was the captain of the U-23 side in Liverpool, and right away, you could see why. He’s a well-spoken individual and as you allude to, comes across as a really mature guy for someone his age.
I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about his personality.
RR: He played ten games during his loan spell - would you have liked to have seen more of him?
Michael Singh [Waking The Red Fanzine]: Definitely. I believe, aside from his final game, Toronto FC were undefeated in matches that Tony Gallacher played in. I know the club were continuing to track his progress and were keen on potentially bringing him back to Toronto on a permanent basis, but for a variety of reasons, that move never transpired.
RR: What sort of left back is he? Liverpool like their full backs to get forward and join in the attacks...
Michael Singh [Waking The Red Fanzine]: He’s a really well-rounded full-back. I wouldn’t say he excels in one area extremely well, but he is capable of getting up and down the pitch.
RR: Did he suit the way that Toronto play, and the overall pace of the MLS?
Michael Singh [Waking The Red Fanzine]: It’s always tough when you’re a new player joining MLS for the first time, and I thought he showed some great adaptability.
Despite being younger than most of the league, he fit right in and never looked behind the pace of play. TFC were a team that liked to play out of the back, with a slower, more methodical build-up, and Gallacher fit that mould.
RR: What would you say his key strengths as a player are?
Michael Singh [Waking The Red Fanzine]: Again, there’s nothing that really jumps out about his game in one area, but I would say that he’s good at keeping possession - finding the right pass in tight areas - he’s a really good crosser of the ball, and he’s well rounded in the sense that he’s not a liability defensively but at the same time isn’t an offensive juggernaut.
RR: And his weaknesses - what areas do you think need work?
Michael Singh [Waking The Red Fanzine]: I think just taking his game overall to the next level. He’s solid in every department, but he doesn’t do anything particularly outstanding.
If he can maintain his solid play, but specialize in one aspect of the game — say getting forward — then I think he has the makings to be a real day-in, day-out impact player.
RR: Do you think that getting Gallacher in on a permanent basis is represents good business for Sunderland?
Michael Singh [Waking The Red Fanzine]: Very much so. He has still yet to hit the peak of his career, hasn’t really had a good run of games under his belt at a solid side like Sunderland.
There’s still a lot more potential to untap there, so getting a player like Gallacher is really low-risk, high-reward for Sunderland.