IT’S half past two on transfer-deadline day, and Callum McManaman is starting to get concerned. He’s spent the last hour pacing around his parents’ living room, and has checked his phone’s battery on more than a dozen occasions. Still, though, the call does not come.

Twelve months earlier, he had gone to bed frustrated as a proposed move away from West Brom failed to come to fruition. Forced to remain at the Hawthorns, his career had effectively been placed on ice, with no chance of a first-team return under Tony Pulis. Another year of that, and goodness only knows how he would cope.

Two days earlier, there had been talk of a possible move to Sunderland. His agent had hinted it would happen, but the clock was ticking and not only did he have to persuade West Brom to release him, he also had to get to Wearside to make the move happen.

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Three o’clock, and still nothing. Suddenly, though, the phone began to ring. Within a matter of minutes he was out of the door, within a matter of hours he was at Sunderland’s training ground completing a medical. Things can change quickly in football, and the 26-year-old freely admits he is desperate to make up for lost time.

“It was a funny old day,” said McManaman, who is in line to make his Black Cats debut in this afternoon’s home game with Sheffield United. “I was sitting round my mum and dad’s, watching Sky Sports News, thinking, ‘When is my name going to come up there?’

“It’s weird because you’re just waiting. You’re looking at your phone thinking, ‘I hope you’re going to ring’. I had the other way last year. I was waiting around all day wanting to move, but West Brom weren’t picking up the phone when a couple of clubs were phoning about me.

“I was nearly going last summer, but it fell through. That was frustrating because I had to wait for six months, then I went on loan and was playing catch up. I didn’t want that to happen again.”

Thankfully, it didn’t. Having burst onto the scene in such exciting fashion with Wigan Athletic, McManaman finds himself in a position where he can finally draw a line under everything that happened at West Brom.

In 2015, the winger became Tony Pulis’ first signing for the Baggies when he made a much-trumpeted £4.75m move to the Hawthorns. It was supposed to be an opportunity to take his career to the next level, instead it became the deadest of dead ends.

In the space of two years, he made just seven Premier League starts in a West Brom shirt. Those who knew him fairly well assumed he must have been injured. Others, looking from the outside, concluded his attitude must have been an issue. In fact, the reality was much more mundane.

“It’s hard,” said McManaman. “You’re basically going in to train knowing that even if you score three overhead kicks in training, you’re not going to be in the team. It didn’t matter, and I knew that. You want to stay professional, but mentally it’s very difficult.

“I knew I had to keep working hard every day in training, and I kept my head and didn’t say anything. I could have thrown my toys out of the pram, but I didn’t. But I kind of got forgotten about as well, so trying to be a good professional can maybe work against you.

“You sometimes think, ‘Should I have been banging on the door a bit more and letting people know I’m here’. It’s hard because you can’t win. Now, I’m just looking forward to playing again.”

When he first emerged at Wigan as a teenager, McManaman was touted as a future England international. He played for England at the Under-20 World Cup, and was the Man of the Match as the Latics memorably won the FA Cup final against Manchester City in 2013.

That is more than four years ago now, but given that he does not turn 27 until next April, there is still plenty of time for him to rediscover the form that first earned him his move to West Brom. If he is able to do so, he could be a massive asset for a club looking to force its way up the Championship table.

“I never really got the chance to show what I could do at West Brom,” he said. “I only got a few games here and there. I didn’t play consistently, and didn’t have a chance to get fully fit.

“I think I actually did alright when I played – I did okay in some games – so once I get a run of games, I’m sure I’ll get back to where I was. I don’t see any reason why I can’t get back to those levels.

“It feels like a long time ago now that I was coming through at Wigan, and I just want to get back to enjoying things again. I haven’t really enjoyed it for years to be honest, so I just want to play and enjoy football.”

There hasn’t been much enjoyment on Wearside in recent seasons, but McManaman’s arrival forms part of a major overhaul that has seen Simon Grayson sign ten players since he was appointed to succeed David Moyes.

It feels a different club to the one that was in crisis both on and off the field last season, and with so many players having a point to prove, there is a shared determination to draw a line under the failings of the past and look positively to the future.

“There have been a lot of changes here, a lot of new signings, and it’s a completely different squad to last year,” said McManaman. “I think it might take a few games for everyone to settle in together, but once we get going, you only have to look at what most of the lads have done to see what we should be capable of.

“There are a lot of lads here who have played at the top level, so hopefully we can get something going. There’s a lot of Premier League quality in this squad, and that’s where we want to get back to. It’s where this club should be. I’m looking forward to it.”