IT would be no surprise if Sunderland new boy Jonny Williams had two red rings drawn around the date of October 9 on his calendar.

Firstly, it is his 24th birthday. Just as importantly, however, it is also the night when Wales host the Republic of Ireland in what is likely to be a shoot-out for a play-off place for next summer’s World Cup finals.

If all goes to plan at the Stadium of Light in the next few weeks, it could be cause for a double celebration.

“I think Chris Coleman (Wales manager) was delighted when he heard Sunderland were interested,” said Williams, who played with Wales at last summer’s European Championships and was part of the squad that earned back-to-back wins over Austria and Moldova earlier this week. “It’s a great opportunity for me at my age to be able to come to a club like this and show what I can do.

“He was very supportive letting me leave training early to get it sorted, then also letting me come back early to get settled too. He said once I’m playing regularly, he will pick me if I’m playing well.

“To be back involved strongly in the Welsh team is a big aim for me, but my main focus is playing regularly here at Sunderland and getting my club career going again, playing for a great team and a winning team. The Wales stuff will hopefully come with that and playing well.”

Williams has had a hectic few days, marrying his international duties with his deadline-day loan move, but switching focus has become second nature to a player who has spent the vast majority of his career moving around.

This is his fifth loan spell, and while some, such as the moves to Nottingham Forest and MK Dons, never really got going, others, such as his two stints at Ipswich Town, saw him successfully showcase the qualities that once made him an integral part of the Crystal Palace team that won promotion to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs.

“At times I’ve got injured, and that’s the reason some loans haven’t gone well for me,” he said. “I can’t argue with any of my moves in the past. I’ve always been picked to play, and especially at Ipswich, I was able to find my best form, stay fit and put a run of games together.

“I felt on top of the world at times, and that’s what I’m aiming to get here. Hopefully, I can stay fit, get as many games as I can, and push us up the table because I know what that feeling is like when you’re in a team that is winning every week and you know you’re going to be playing Saturday, Tuesday because the games come quick. There’s no better feeling.”

Having trained with his new team-mates for the first time earlier this week, Williams will hope to make his Sunderland debut in tomorrow’s home game with Sheffield United. A number of Championship clubs were chasing him on deadline day, but Wearside was always his preferred destination.

“I’ve trained with the boys now and feel ready to go,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity and I feel excited. I knew there were a few clubs interested in me, so I just had to make sure I picked the right one this time.

“I wanted to make sure I was going somewhere where I’d feel valued, play and be involved in something special. I spoke to the manager on the way up, and also to my agent and people who knew the club and had played here.

“That was a big factor, as were the fanbase and the stadium. When it came up, it was by far the best opportunity of all the offers I had. It was a no-brainer really.”