IF there is no place like home, then Danny Rose is more than happy to suggest the Stadium of Light already feels that way to him.
Despite the fact he is due to return to Tottenham in the summer at the end of his season- long loan, the 22-year-old and his Doncaster-based family are loving the Sunderland experience.
Having moved down to White Hart Lane as a 16-yearold after Spurs took him south from Leeds United, the fact he is much closer to his South Yorkshire roots has been great for him and his parents.
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And while Rose is in no rush to make a decision on his future, the left-back admits the events of his first six months on Wearside will make it difficult for him to say goodbye if a permanent deal is not struck.
Not only has he become a firm fans’ favourite with the Stadium of Light crowd for the way he was a shining light during a pretty poor start to the campaign, he has also been impressed by the welcome he has received around the club.
“I feel as if I can’t do much wrong here,” said Rose, who hopes to overcome another hamstring niggle in time to play at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
“It feels like home. When my mum and dad come here everyone at the stadium knows their names and they make them feel really welcome.
“Whenever I go anywhere, the fans go out of their way to try to speak to me. It’s brilliant and I’ve never had that before. I would be lucky if I could get that anywhere else, playing for another team in the league.
“When I was at Spurs I was not playing very often, I was on the bench a lot more than I am here, but my dad just wanted to be at every game I would be involved in.
“I would tell him not to come because I knew in myself I wouldn’t get on. Now he is here every match at Sunderland and my mum has come to a lot more games this season too. She has stayed up quite a lot and it has been great. My friends are up most weekends as well. It’s like being a kid again, it’s brilliant.”
Rose has enjoyed his time at White Hart Lane since Tottenham paid £1m for him at the age of 17 in September 2006.
By that time he had already been named, as a 16-year-old, on the bench for Leeds by manager Kevin Blackwell for a League Cup tie with Barnet.
His sale was to help the club’s finances after Leeds dropped in to League One following administration.
Twelve months earlier he had been close to joining Chelsea with Martin Woods, now Doncaster, and Tom Taiwo, now Hibernian, but it was Tottenham where he ended up and wonders if he should have stayed at Elland Road a further year.
“I am glad I moved,” he said. “But I think I moved a season too early. I had the chance to go the year before to Chelsea. I was promised a few things by the management back then, that I would be given my debut at Leeds, and it didn’t happen.
“I was impatient back then – I was only 15, 16 – and I just wanted to play. Then it got to the stage of the season where people who I didn’t think were as good as me were being given a chance and I thought it was really hard.
“Then Tottenham came in for me and I just thought, ‘Go for it’. Moving to London at the age of 16 was quite daunting but I did find out quite a bit about myself once I moved down there and I started to cook and clean for myself.
“I’m glad I made the move, I just wished I’d played a few more games for Tottenham than I have. I wouldn’t normally say I’d like to change anything about my past but I maybe did the move a season too soon.”