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Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Semi Final 2nd Leg

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Re-signing Patrick Roberts could be one of the best bits of Championship business this season

Patrick Roberts has signed up at Sunderland for at least the next two years - could this end up being one of the best bits of transfer business in the Championship this season?

Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

He’s got a home now

Fulham - one season.

Manchester City - one appearance in seven years.

Celtic - two loan spells.

Girona - one season, 19 appearances.

Norwich - one season, 3 appearances.

Boro - two loan spells.

Troyes - one appearance.

It’s fair to say that in his career so far, despite the fact he’s played in a variety of good leagues for good clubs, 25-year-old Patrick Roberts has not had a place to call home.

That is until now, of course - Sunderland is his home. He’s free from the shackles of Manchester City where, as a young prospect, his development was ultimately stunted after a big money move as he was farmed out on loan repeatedly over the course of seven years.

He doesn’t have to worry about where he’s going to play his football all season - his future has been solved quickly and efficiently.

Get yer pipe and slippers, Paddy - welcome back to Sunlun, bonny lad.

Sunderland Announce Three Player Contract Extensions Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

No settling in period - hit the ground running

That’s the other big thing with Paddy... at the majority of clubs he’s played for, there’s been a settling-in period that has inevitably bled into how his season has panned out.

Firstly, it’s difficult as a young player to go to teams playing in the top flight and make an impression immediately. Signing for the Norwich in the Premier League, for instance, and not playing much football at all isn’t going to help his development an awful lot.

But that’s by the by now - he’s here, he knows everyone and he knows the manager.

He knows what Alex Neil expects of him, he knows what his teammates are like, he knows how we play football, he knows about the expectancy of the supporters.

That gives him and us a huge advantage when we start the season.

There’s no doubting that this lad isn’t a League One player, but he needed to come to Sunderland to find himself again... and after a short settling-in period, he has.

Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Semi Final 2nd Leg Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Injury-free, fit and firing

One of the big reasons why Patrick came to League One in the first place was because he was so woefully short of fitness after a nightmare spell in France, where he barely kicked a ball for top-flight side Troyes.

It was a gamble from Sunderland in the first place to take him on, because we had to back ourselves to not only motivate him, but to get him fit, help him to re-find his confidence, and to help him re-find his love for the beautiful game.

Thankfully, the gamble paid off most towards the end of the season, where some important performances leading up to the play-offs were topped by a match-winning goal in the semi at Hillsborough, and then a man of the match-worthy showing in the final at Wembley.

Being injury-free, relatively fit (the break hasn’t been that long!), and carrying momentum from the previous season will be huge for Patrick - it’s a situation he probably hasn’t been in often over his career to date.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Pedigree counts at this level

The total lack of continuity that Patrick has had through his career probably does-down the fact that this lad has a tremendous amount of pedigree - he’s still just 25 years old but has experienced a great deal in his short career so far.

He made his Premier League debut at the age of 17, cost Manchester City an eight-figure fee, won seven trophies at Celtic and played in the Champions League, was capped by England at every single youth level, played in La Liga and the French top flight and, most important of all, won the League One Play-Off Final with Sunderland.

That’s not the resumé of a total mug, is it?

He’s a top player who lost his way a bit and, luckily for us, he’s found himself here.

Let’s all hope that, in a Sunderland shirt, the lad hits the heights that everyone thought he was destined for when he was still just a young boy playing in the Premier League.

27/05/17 WILLIAM HILL SCOTTISH CUP CELEBRATION.CELTIC PARK - GLASGOW.Celtic’s Patrick Roberts with the William Hill Scottish Cup, Ladbrokes Premiership and Betfred Cup in Celtic Park Photo by Paul Devlin - SNS Group\SNS Group via Getty Images
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