Sunderland star's loan deal nightmare amid 'bad decision' admission

Sunderland winger Jewison Bennette has admitted joining Greek side Aris Thessaloniki FC on loan was “a bad decision.” The 19-year-old is set to return to the Stadium of Light for pre-season after opting to leave Wearside for Greece in January.

But the Costa Rica international only played twice for Aris during his loan spell as his move turned into a nightmare. Bennette signed for Sunderland in August 2022, penning a four-year deal. He made his debut in September that year, replacing Corry Evans as a substitute against Reading. In his second match for Sunderland against Watford, he scored his first goal.

But in January this year Bennette decided to try his luck in the Super League Greece club Aris. For the teenager, who turns 20 next month, it was a mistake he now regrets.

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Speaking to Costa Rican broadcaster Teletica Bennette said: “It was quite a complicated year. I made bad decisions, going to a club that broke my contract in every way. My agent recommended that I go there. He told me not to talk to anyone, it was a bad decision I made, but I’m learning.

“When I came to Aris I played two games and after that they had to pay my salary, house and car. I complained to Sunderland and they [Aris] were upset about that, then they started to put me aside and left me off the list. In the end I had a small injury that left me out of La Sele’s [Costa Rica’s national team] games.”

The plan was always for Corry Evans to return to Sunderland for pre-season, with two years left on his Black Cats contract – including a club option of an extra year.

“I’ll start pre-season with Sunderland and we’ll see what happens if they give me on loan to a new team or not,” Bennette added. “I made a bad decision and it’s a learning experience for me, not to make hasty decisions and now to concentrate on my team to give my best.”

Bennette is currently in Costa Rica training with his former side Herediano as he looks to keep fit ahead of a potential national team call-up. He played in Costa Rica’s 2022 World Cup qualification fixtures against Canada and Honduras in November 2021, becoming Costa Rica’s youngest player to feature in World Cup qualifying.

He became crucial for the team as he assisted Joel Campbell to score the lone goal at the play-off match against New Zealand to seal Costa Rica’s spot at the World Cup. On September 23 that year he scored his first two international goals in a friendly against South Korea.

In November 2022 Bennette was named in Costa Rica’s 26-player squad for the World Cup and started in his country’s opening 7–0 defeat against Spain. He came off the bench in their 1–0 victory over Japan as well as their 4–2 defeat over Germany. Now his future is uncertain and is sure to be determined by which head coach comes into the Stadium of Light and whether he can impress the new man.