Seb Larsson has had little preparation in Sunderland’s pre-season as a niggling injury has forced the Swede to the side-lines.
However, the midfielder is confident he can revive his stint on Wearside under David Moyes as he eyes a fresh start under the Scot.
Just two seasons ago Larsson won the Player of the Year accolade as Sunderland once again narrowly avoided relegation, this time under Dick Advocaat. However that joy was short-lived as Advocaat was replaced by Sam Allardyce the player suffered knee ligament damage.
Whilst he returned to fitness early this year he failed to make his way into the starting eleven until the final day of the season. And with just 12 months left on his contract it looked more and more certain that last season would be Larsson’s last at the Stadium Of Light. But in a dramatic turnaround of events, it was in fact Allardyce who departed.
A new manager is a new opportunity for Larsson to impress. Larsson described last season as “extremely frustrating”.
He said: “First of all to get my first ever [major] injury and miss three months of the season and then not to really get back into the team."
The midfielder added, “I am used to playing and sitting on the sidelines is not what you want to do, so yes it was frustrating.”
It’s no surprise that Larsson thought about leaving, midfield is arguably Sunderland's strongest area so it was always going to be a struggle to win a place in the starting line-up.
The Swede is one of the Black Cat’s longest serving players and enjoys an endearing relationship with Sunderland fans so it was a hard time for Larsson.
He admitted, “Those thoughts go through your head when you don’t play, when you feel like you are doing okay, you’re doing alright.”
Larsson says players feel they "should be starting", and that was the case last year: "I thought I should be playing and I wasn’t."
He continued, “Maybe, that was an indication of what the manager [Allardyce] thought, and those thoughts [about leaving] they do go through your head."
Even with the frustration, he was keen to add that, “At the same time I have always enjoyed my time." He was also excited by having "a new manager and a new start".
He concluded, "That is all I am thinking about.”