Souttar snubbed a move to Sunderland in his teens, but has since seen younger brother Harry lured south by Stoke City.

John Souttar in action for Dundee United

Hearts defender John Souttar has told the Scottish Sun he has no regrets about turning down a move to Sunderland.

Souttar was approached by the Black Cats four years ago while at Dundee United. However, the now 20-year-old chose to snub the Stadium of Light in favour of remaining at Tannadice, where he was already a first-team regular.

Souttar eventually quit the Terrors for Hearts in 2016 and had again caught the eye of English clubs, until a ruptured Achilles saw him sidelined for the remainder of the campaign.

And though Souttar’s younger brother, Harry, has already moved south of the border with Stoke City, the Hearts star maintains he made the right call.

“What was right for Harry wasn’t necessarily right for me,” he told the Scottish Sun.

“He wasn’t playing regularly at Dundee United and, having spoken to (Terrors manager) Ray McKinnon, I think he realised he’d be in the development team for the most part, with United in the Championship.

“I had more to give up, given I was playing every week for United at 16 when Sunderland came in for me.

“Paolo Di Canio was their manager but he was sacked, as was their director of football.

“They treated me really well when I was down for a visit with my dad, but my gut feeling was to stay at United – with Jackie really keen to keep me. I still think it was the right decision.”

Championship sides Aston Villa and Derby County, whose manager Steve McClaren has admitted to watching Souttar in action last November, were linked with moves for the Scotland Under-21 international earlier in the campaign.

And, should his recovery go to plan, Souttar might well be facing Sunderland in next season’s Championship.

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