Sunderland lost Josh Maja to Bordeaux almost two years ago, but his dramatic Stadium of Light exit has remained a talking point for some time.
A Netflix documentary elevated that and Maja has been discussing his Sunderland exit again quite recently.
In an interview with the Independent, the 21-year-old has revealed that he knew he would be perceived as the ‘bag guy’ as he sealed his Sunderland exit in favour of a move into Europe.
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He said: “I always knew they were going to portray it like that, to make it look like I’m the bad guy.
“But that’s life. It’s easy to get caught up in the messages, what people are saying about you, but it’s just about staying focused and being true to yourself. I’ve never been the type to focus on what other people think. Not to be arrogant, but people are always going to have opinions. I’ve never been one to let that affect me. I just have to remember who I am and be true to myself.”
Maja left at the midpoint of the 2018/19 season having bagged 15 goals and two assists in just 24 appearances.
He was seen as the man to drive Jack Ross’ side to promotion back into the Championship, but on the back of his departure, things failed to take off at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland lost the play-off final to Charlton Athletic in May 2019 and then failed to break the top-six in last year’s disrupted campaign. Phil Parkinson is now at the helm for the Black Cats’ third season in League One.
Maja has scored 10 goals in 35 appearances for Bordeaux.
For such a young player to be cast into the limelight over his Sunderland exit was disappointing for Maja.
However, he appreciates it was always going to be like that and he doesn’t appear to have many regrets about turning his back on Sunderland in 2019.
In his eyes, it is all a part of football.
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