MICHAEL TURNER has described his £6.5m move to Sunderland as a dream come true, and admitted the experience of playing through the leagues with Brentford and Hull City has made him appreciate the opportunity that is now in his hands.
Turner became Steve Bruces final summer signing when he penned a four-year deal on Wearside on Monday.
Five years ago, the 25-yearold defender joined Brentford after failing to make the grade at Charlton Athletic, and after representing the Bees in League One and Hull in the Championship, he is determined to make the most of his time at the Stadium of Light.
Ive played through the divisions and I think that helps me appreciate all of this more, said Turner, who made 146 senior appearances at the KC Stadium. When I was playing in League One, the Premier League felt an awfully long way away.
I got the chance to step up a level with Hull, and luckily we had a successful side that got promotion to the Premier League. But I still appreciate the fact that Im getting an opportunity like this.
Ive played all around the country in League One and visited a lot of smaller grounds. So to be in the limelight of the Premier League is brilliant, and to get the chance to call somewhere like the Stadium of Light home is a bit of a dream come true.
Turner was first linked with a move to Wearside at the start of the season, but while speculation began to mount in the middle of last week, the defender remained reluctant to give too much credence to the burgeoning transfer talk.
That all changed when Bruce made formal contact with Hull officials, and while the centre-half enjoyed his time with the Tigers, he admits it was an easy decision to uproot to the North-East.
When I knew Steve Bruce had phoned up, there was only really one place I wanted to go, said Turner. This is definitely a top-ten club. You only have to look at the players the manager has brought in over the summer to see that.
The signings show the ambition of the club and Im sure we can push on.
It wasnt even a week ago that I first found out about the interest from Sunderland, and it all moved so quickly from there. Obviously, with the deadline coming up, it was important we got things done.
Turner joins a central defensive roster that also includes summer signings John Mensah and Paulo Da Silva, and established centre-halves Anton Ferdinand and Nyron Nosworthy.
It is expected that Turner and Mensah will start when Sunderland return to Premier League action a week on Saturday, but the Lewisham-born defender is taking nothing for granted.
There are five or six centre- backs here now so theres healthy competition for places, said Turner. Im sure everyone will be fighting hard to earn their place in the team.
Im not expecting anything to come easily and I know Ill have to work hard to earn my place in the team.