“If you’d have asked me at the beginning of last month, I’d have thought I’d be at Wigan for a very long time, possibly to the end of my career.
“The lads were already joking about me having a testimonial and I wouldn’t have argued with them.
“But it’s one of those things, things change so quickly in football, and you just get on with it.
“It’s amazing I was only at Wigan three-and-a-half years, but we crammed so much into that time.
“Apart from my youth days at Birmingham, it’s the longest I’ve ever spent with one club, and definitely the happiest I’ve been as a player.
“You look at the two promotions – unfortunately the one relegation – but the medals and the goals are what you look back on when you retire.
“There’s also the Man City game, which is a night none of us will ever forget.
“I remember working so hard in the week preparing for it, watching clip after clip of them, the gaffer taking us through their dangermen...Aguero, Sane, De Bruyne, Silva...and he just bursting out laughing!
“That prompted the lads to all burst out laughing, at the prospect of trying to beat them...a side on for the quadruple...playing the best football in Europe at the time...it was such a surreal moment.
“We were hoping they’d come with a weakened team, which unfortunately wasn’t the case at all!
“But we put in an amazing team performance, and obviously to get the goal at the end made it an unforgettable night for me in particular.
“The DW was absolutely rocking that night, and I was lucky enough to enjoy a very special relationship with the Wigan supporters throughout my time.
“Obviously there’s the song, but even before we had a great rapport, and it gives you that extra something when you go on the field.
“The song...where do I start with the song?!
“It started off as a clip on social media, suddenly the East Stand is singing it, and a few months later it’s being sung by the whole stadium at the Euros in Paris, with the words on the big screen!
“That was obviously great for me, it got my name out there...to hear Hummels, the German defender, talking about me in their press conference was surreal!
“For that to have started in Wigan was amazing, and sums up the place as a whole, just incredible.
“And Wigan as a club has always had a real family feel about it...before the game, after the game, you really feel you’re in it as one.
“Wigan will always have a special place in my heart, and this last few days have been really difficult for me personally, having to leave that behind.
“I’ve had to take some time out to step back from it all and get my head round it first of all, take away some of the emotions of it all.
“Saying goodbye to the lads, the gaffer and his staff was very strange on Friday morning...we’ve been through so much together.
“It’s the best dressing room I’ve ever been in, just one big group of friends, we all got on so well.
“The car school we had’s nearly gone now, with Dan moving on as well last month...it’s been cut in half, there’s only Powelly and Crackers left!
“We’ll make sure we stay in touch, because when you have friendships like that you don’t want to let them go.
“I’m a Sunderland player now, though, and I’ve got to get my head down and make the transition as easy as possible.
“Obviously the aim this season is to get promoted, and be back in the Championship with Wigan next year.
“That would be the dream for me, to be back at the DW Stadium, I’d love that so much.
“I’m not saying I wouldn’t like to score...I would!
“But hopefully I’d get a nice reception, because I loved my time at Wigan...and I’m going to miss the place so much.”