Free-agent forward Matthew Knox has admitted that he was never too interested in signing a contract with Sunderland, telling the Glasgow Evening Times that he had ‘bigger and better’ opportunities available to him.
Not so long ago, an Edinburgh-born youngster with a skillset which defied his tender years was one of the most coveted youngsters anywhere in British football.
After bursting on to the scene with Livingston, Knox found himself on the radar of Rangers, Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City while spending time on trial at Manchester United, honing his considerable talents alongside the likes of Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Old Trafford.
At the time, Sunderland felt like one of the most likely destinations for a Scottish starlet, with Knox admitting to the Daily Record that the Black Cats had made a bid or two for his services.
But, speaking as a 20-year-old who is now hoping to rebuild his once-glittering reputation, Knox has suggested that a move to the Stadium of Light never really appealed to him.
“I went to Sunderland for a couple of days but they wanted me to play a game for them, which I did. It was okay but, at the time, I had bigger and better things going on,” says a budding talent who shot to fame as a 16-year-old when he set up the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win against Rangers.
“Rangers then came in with a bid and I went to train with them for three days. They wanted to take me which was massive for me, because it gave me a big boost. But as fast as it came about, it went away faster.
“I also went to train at Manchester United three or four times. The first time I went, players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba walking past you, you’re like, ‘Wow’. I was only a kid, what was I doing there? The second time I had to think that’s what it was. I had to train as best I could, and I actually did quite well.”
Football is a fickle game of course and Knox now finds himself without a club, after a disappointing spell at Brechin City.
But he is unlikely to be out of the game for too long.