Phil Brown did not need to see Michael Turner’s debut for his new club to know just how much he will miss a defender he believes has an England future.
Turner hardly slept a wink before lining up against his former club, but if he had any nerves he hid them well and turned in the type of performance which could take Steve Bruce’s investment to £12million.
‘I just had to remember not to run to the Hull fans,’ said Turner. ‘I didn’t want to celebrate the goal but it’s a massive moment for me. Hull will always have a massive place in my heart. It wasn’t nice to play this one.’
Sunderland's Michael Turner
Showing the way: Michael Turner celebrates after scoring Sunderland's fourth
While Bruce has purchased additional steel in Turner and the impressive midfield pair of Lee Cattermole and Lorik Cana, Brown has endured a frustrating summer and Turner’s late departure left him still seeking his replacement.
Darren Bent scored his second with an emphatic finish, adding to an early penalty, thanks to the alarming defending of potential stand-ins Kamil Zayatte and Ibrahima Sonko.
It was described by Alan Hansen as ‘the worst defending I have ever seenin my life, bar none’.
And he would know. While Turner made himself at home at the Stadium of Light, claiming a goal from Andy Reid’s corner, Paul McShane had a miserable return to Sunderland as Hull captain.
Sunderland's Darren Bent, right, reacts after scoring a goal with fellow team member Anton Ferdinand
Red handed: Anton Ferdinand celebrates with Darren Bent
‘I always knew Andy was a good player,’ said McShane, who was nowhere near his former Republic of Ireland colleague and Sunderland club-mate when Reid scored the home side’s second.
It makes a mockery of Giovanni Trapattoni’s stubborn resistance to Reid’s international return after their bust-up a year ago.
But like McShane, the midfielder needs regular games to catch the Italian coach’s eyes.
‘If you’re not playing regularly you won’t be sharp and you won’t play for your country,’ said McShane.
‘It was still right for me to leave Sunderland. I didn’t really want to quit Hull when I was on loan last season, but it was taken out of my hands and I was like a piece of meat to the club.
‘This is a result we can’t dwell on. We just move on and bounce back.’