FOR a young man who does not turn 22 until March, Brendan Galloway has already experienced the highs and lows of professional football.

He hopes his summer switch to Sunderland, on a season long loan from Everton, will help revitalise a promising career that has endured the most frustrating stint since he broke onto the scene seven years ago.

Galloway has moved to Sunderland for regular football. Simon Grayson, the Black Cats boss, is a big admirer of his having watched his development with Everton’s Under-23s – and is keen to give him the platform to shine again. And how he needs it.

Last season, after resisting a move to Newcastle United in the Championship because of an opportunity to play in the Premier League with West Brom, was spent on the periphery of things.

Tony Pulis, despite hailing the player’s professionalism and attitude on a regular basis, only played him five times for the Baggies and only three of those were in the Premier League, despite an impressive debut in a goalless draw with Middlesbrough a year ago.

After losing his place to Alex Nyom, normally a right-back, in the September, Galloway never made it back into the West Brom side and he even ended up making a couple of cameo appearances for Everton’s title winning Under-23s at the back end of the season just to get some football under his belt.

Has he lost the sparkle that made him one of the most sought after teenagers outside of the top-flight not so long ago? Grayson, and Sunderland’s fans, will hope not. This is a big season for Galloway and he knows it.

He said: “I learned last season that you have to get your head down, work hard, do extra things and stay focused because you never know if you will get the opportunity – or when an opportunity will arrive again.

“I had to remain patient and that period has made me stronger and hopefully it shapes me up well for the future. I was really pleased to get the chance to come to Sunderland and I am really looking forward to the season. I just want to make the most of it again.”

There have been no discussions with Everton about the loan deal becoming permanent next summer if it is successful. This is purely an agreement that allows Galloway to play some football and Ronald Koeman will be keeping an eye on his progress.

His frustrations of the last 12 months have been new to him, having enjoyed a career that had been on an upward trajectory since bursting onto the first team stage as a 15-year-old with MK Dons – the club’s youngest ever player – against Nantwich in 2011.

He was a centre-back at the time and, although he can still play there, the chances are he will find himself playing left-back more often than not at Sunderland. After that early outing for MK Dons he represented England across the youth levels and appeared for Everton in the Premier League in 2015.

Leighton Baines has proved a huge obstacle in his way at Goodison Park and is one of the reasons why he has found himself heading out to West Brom and now Sunderland. He might have had to drop into the Championship, but this is a move the Zimbabwe-born defender is keen to make the most of.

Galloway said: “I am very excited to be here and it is a different type of challenge to what I have faced before. Hopefully there will be more ups and downs when you look at the team we have got. If we work hard we will get there.

“It’s been nice to get to know everyone in the squad. As soon as I found out Sunderland were interested, I knew what a club it was and I heard good stuff about the manager, so I wanted it to happen. It is a great opportunity for me.

“There was a lot of frustration last season. I had to deal with that, I have learned how to deal with things off the pitch mentally. I have become a stronger person and now I am looking forward to the challenge. I feel good, I feel strong, happy to be part of the team and I think the team is working as hard as it can.”