Before Matthew Jurman became a national team player and A-League star, the powerful defender from Western Sydney Wanderers trialled across Europe.
“I can imagine how hard it must have been in recent years for those Sunderland fans.
“Seeing what’s happened to the club and the team.
“I did watch the Netflix documentary Sunderland Till I Die, and for anyone who doesn’t know much about Sunderland and football, it’s the best thing to watch.
“You get to see the highs and lows behind the scenes of this incredible club, Sunderland."
Jurman wasn't offered a Sunderland contract.
However, he believes knock backs and traveling around Europe trialing is good for your character. Particularly for young players.
Before his Sunderland week, he was in Germany on trial.
It was draining mentally and physically.
“I was 18 and had a trial at Werder Bremen after one of the Young Socceroos camps. I flew direct from Vietnam," the A-League defender recalls.
“I was at Werder’s training camp in Spain. I was the youngest in the group and we trained three times a day. It was intense, with days starting at 6 am.
“Werder wanted me to stay and I ended up staying there for two months. They then told me they wanted to find another team for me to develop. I was pretty gutted.
"I went to some other German clubs and all this time my parents were funding my trip. I’d train with the U23s in the morning and then later in the day with the U19s. I felt I was doing well but that’s how it goes.”
But as it turned out one of Hannover chief scouts was English. It was Jurman's passport to trials in the UK.
“I stayed with this scout’s family and to this day I still speak to him and his family.
“And in fact, when the Socceroos played Hungary [in 2018] he came to see a friendly game we played. His family is still special to me and part of my journey.