Jan Kirchhoff was unable to hide his delight after making his first appearance of the season.
The German midfielder returned from injury in the Black Cats’ 1-1 draw against Rochdale in the Checkatrade Trophy, with Elliot Embleton’s strike ensuring the Lads gained a point in their opening Group F outing.
Rochdale earned a further point after winning 4-2 on penalties following the full-time whistle, but for Kirchhoff it was very much a job well done as he came through the 90 minutes unscathed.
And speaking to safc.com, the midfielder admitted it is great to be back in action.
“It was good for me to get some game time after getting back on track,” said Kirchhoff. “I’ve been working a lot individually while also training with the lads during the international break, so it was a good way to finish the last few weeks which have been like an individual pre-season for me.
“I feel good after the game and I think I’m ready for the next challenge – a Premier League game.”
He continued: “I tried to make myself fit as quickly as possible however it takes time with this type of injury, but now I’m back I have no problems and that’s important for me.
“It was a very competitive game, especially in the second-half, so it was great for my personal fitness but I completed the 90 minutes and I’m feeling good.
“The game came at a perfect time for me because it was much better than training or playing in a friendly, so I was pleased to get the opportunity in a serious game where the objective is to win.
“It will also help the young lads in their development.”