Luke O’Nien has reflected on a delightful past few weeks, and has expressed his excitement at the pre-season schedule ahead.
Having been an integral part of Alex Neil’s side to earn promotion to the Sky Bet Championship last month, O’Nien has enjoyed a memorable summer in his personal life having become a married man, and is in awe of the positivity around Wearside for the season ahead.
“The summer has been a great one, not just for me personally but I can imagine everyone in the North East,” he said.
“Meeting everybody since Wembley has been really good, and I can see how much it means – myself and my family live in the North East, some kids and a new generation of Sunderland supporters were having their first experience of Wembley and of promotion.
“The past few weeks have been magic. I’ve got married to my best mate, with my little girl there as well, and to have our families come from far and wide was so special. I’m a very lucky guy, and now I’m looking forward to getting down to business in pre-season.”
A period of 32 days after securing Championship football under the Wembley arch, O’Nien insists that whilst the day against his former club Wycombe Wanderers will always remain a fond memory, now is the time to look to the future as the club moves in the right direction once again.
“Pre-season has come around very quickly – it only feels like yesterday that we were lifting that trophy.
“I’ve probably watched the goals at least 100 times, and have been lying in bed looking through the photos.
“But now that’s in the past. We have things we need to go out and achieve – everyone came in early today to catch up and we had a few tests. I think the volume will get cranked up day by day now – it’s nice to see the boys again, and we all know what’s in front of us.”
Following an intense training schedule at the Academy of Light for the next fortnight, the first-team squad will continue their 2022-23 preparations on the continent with a week’s camp in Portugal – something the midfield man sees as very beneficial for the team dynamic.
“We’re excited for Portugal – it’ll be nice to go away and train with the boys, grow closer to one another and we’re going out there for the job of getting fitter.
“Last time we went out there, we came back in good shape, played some good teams and this is going to be no different. We have the focus of coming back a better team.
“We’ve all looked forward to seeing the fixtures, and all eyes will be on that first Championship game of the season.”