CALLUM Styles admits he feared he was going to miss out on a move to Sunderland for the second time when he needed emergency appendix surgery in January.

The Hungary international revealed that he first held talks with the Black Cats about a potential move last summer when Tony Mowbray was in charge but a deal wasn't struck at that stage.

Sunderland made another move last month but "gutted" Styles thought appendicitis would prevent the switch he craved - and was delighted the Black Cats pushed through the deal even though the midfielder was initially unavailable to play.

"The interest has been around for a few windows and the old manager Mowbray wanted me in, then Michael Beale wanted me in," said Styles after making his debut in Saturday's defeat to Swansea.

"It just came around in January and I just thought to play at the highest level I can and for a big team like this I’d love to do it. Obviously I didn’t expect to have the operation, that came out of nowhere, but we got it over the line which is the main thing.

"As soon as I found out I had to have an operation I just thought that’s me done for the season. I didn’t know much about it. The surgeon then said six to eight weeks I’d be back and I’m back in four weeks.

"It was gutting (when he thought the move had collapsed), especially with a team like Sunderland. But it ended up going though which is the main thing and I’m buzzing to be here and I'm just excited to be with this team."


It was a difficult debut for Styles against Swansea, who started the game at left wing-back but was then moved to the right side of midfield.

The 23-year-old admitted Michael Beale's exit last week was a surprise but says interim head coach Mike Dodds is hugely popular in the dressing room, and he believes Sunderland are still in with a shout of a top six finish despite an eight-point gap after three straight defeats.

He said: "There are a lot of things that have happened this season, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of change but we’ve just got to knuckle down as a group, stick together and hopefully get some wins.

"Doddsy has come in and everyone loves him. But it’s not easy to put all that change behind you and just to flick the switch, it can take a bit of time - which in football you don’t really have. But we’ve just got to adapt as quick as possible.

"The Championship is a unique league. We’ve seen it before when teams look like they’re dropping off. But there’s 12 games to go, there’s a lot of points up for grabs. Like last season, nobody would have really thought Sunderland would have snuck in but they did on the last day and that’s got to be our goal again."

Styles is comfortable in several positions across the pitch but it's in a central role where he thinks he's most effective.

He said: "I’ve played every position you can imagine. I’m obviously a midfielder, but I’ve played a lot at left wing-back as well. I think managers seem to know I can play in a lot of positions.

"It can be a hinderance, it can be a positive, but I’d like to operate in more central areas."