Sunderland have completed the signing of James McFadden on a free transfer.
The Scotland international has been a free agent since leaving Everton at the end of last season having only made eight appearances for the first team, two being against his new club.
Boss Martin O’Neill revealed his delight at the 29-year-old, who has been handed the No.11 squad number, joining the club but warned that McFadden will have to impress immediately to earn match action with the first team.
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O’Neill told the Shields Gazette: “James is happy to stay in the short-term because if he doesn’t breakthrough, he won’t feel as though he’s earning what he shouldn’t.
“I think he is enjoying it here, and he’s the one who said he’s happy with the length of the contract.”
O’Neill also revealed that McFadden’s fitness caused hesitation in the completion of the deal, plus the arrival of Adam Johnson from Manchester City, but is pleased to have signed the forward.
He added: “I was aware that he had been freed, obviously, but as time goes on, and he hadn’t been picked up, I thought about him.
“There had been contact originally but I didn’t know him at all to speak to and I was just thinking to myself that if we did have any problems with injuries – particularly at a time when Adam Johnson’s move was in the balance – I thought if we could get him properly fit, he might be a valuable addition to the squad.
“Certainly, he’s trained most days and he’s a lot fitter than before, so touch wood he’ll be OK – we’ll just see how it goes. He thinks he’s particularly fit, but I just need to be a bit more convinced than that he is.
“He is definitely improving and there are signs every other day that he is coming on.”