FABIO BORINI encouraged Liverpool team-mate Sebastian Coates to follow in his footsteps and join Sunderland on loan, the Uruguayan defender has revealed.
Borini left Sunderland supporters disenchanted this summer after choosing to remain at Anfield, rather than join the Black Cats on a permanent basis, despite Liverpool accepting a £14million offer for the Italian’s services.
But Borini still has fond memories of his loan stint at the Stadium of Light and delivered a glowing endorsement to Coates after Liverpool sanctioned the centre-half’s loan departure on transfer deadline day.
Coates had spoken to Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet earlier in the window, but became even keener to join the Black Cats after receiving a second opinion from Borini.
He told the Echo: “I talked with Fabio.
“He said that it’s a great club, the training ground is amazing and he told me about the city and the supporters.
“It was good for me to hear that from him.
“During the transfer window, I spoke with Gus and he told me that he had an interest to bring me to Sunderland.
“It’s a good opportunity for me to improve in the Premier League.
“I will try to do the best I can and help the team.”
Sunderland’s hopes of signing Borini permanently came to naught this summer, but they will be in pole position to keep hold of Coates, with only a year remaining on his contract at Anfield when his season-long loan comes to an end.
But Coates says it’s too soon to be considering whether his long-term future lies at the Stadium of Light.
Despite starting just six Premier League encounters during his three seasons at Liverpool, the 23-year-old expected to be limited to an understudy role with the Merseysiders, following his £7m arrival from Uruguayan side Nacional.
“I don’t know,” replied Coates when asked whether he was looking for a permanent switch to Sunderland.
“I’m focused on playing some games this year and improve in the Premier League.
“I want to show why I am here.
“Maybe, I expected it to be a learning experience (at Liverpool).
“It’s hard because it’s a great club and there was a big squad, with a few defenders.
“For me, it was good because you learn every day.
“But the manager can only choose two guys to play.
“I decided to come here to get the chance to play, so for me, it will be great to play some games.”
Coates missed much of last season after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury 12 months ago, before re-joining Nacional on loan in January.
He arrived at Sunderland earlier this month with a niggling injury which initially limited his contribution in training, but insists he has now recovered and is available.
“The injury last summer was obviously bad for a footballer, but after that, I played some games on loan in Uruguay,” added Coates.
“And then I went to the World Cup, which was a great experience.
“But now, I am okay and fit. If the manager decides to play me, I will be ready.
“I had a little bit of an injury at first, but it’s nothing to worry about.
“I think I will be ready for this game against Burnley, or for Stoke (on Tuesday).
“I must learn about Sunderland’s football and that’s what this week is for.”