Now that the 2018 World Cup has reached the quarter final stage, there are still as many as nine players who have formerly played for Sunderland that are still in the tournament, representing four of the final eight nations remaining in Russia.
Others past and present, like Wahbi Khazri and Bryan Oviedo, went to the tournament but have already been eliminated.
There are the nine ex-Black Cats still alive on the world's biggest international stage...
9. Sebastian Coates (Uruguay)
Sunderland Appearances (Goals): 32 (0)
Current Club: Sporting CP
Sebastian Coates initially joined Sunderland on loan from Liverpool in 2014 after struggling to make the breakthrough at Anfield. That deal was made permanent 10 months later, but the Uruguayan left for Sporting CP in Portugal halfway through the following season.
8. Simon Mignolet (Belgium)
Sunderland Appearances (Clean Sheets): 101 (33)
Current Club: Liverpool
Sunderland made a tidy profit on Simon Mignolet when they sold the goalkeeper to Liverpool for £9m in 2013, three years after spending just £2m to buy him from Sint-Truiden in Belgium. He's expected to move on from Anfield this summer after falling down the pecking order.
7. Adnan Januzaj (Belgium)
Sunderland Appearances (Goals): 28 (1)
Current Club: Real Sociedad
Prior to resurrecting his career since joining Real Sociedad last summer, Adnan Januzaj endured a tough spell at Sunderland on loan form Manchester United. He couldn't repeat for David Moyes what he'd earlier done for the boss as a teenager at Old Trafford.
6. Danny Rose (England)
Sunderland Appearances (Goals): 29 (1)
Current Club: Tottenham Hotspur
A loan spell at Sunderland during 2012/13 was Danny Rose's first experience of regular first team football after previously playing just a fringe role for Spurs. He went on to become a starter at White Hart Lane, although injuries have hampered him in more recent seasons.
5. Danny Welbeck (England)
Sunderland Appearances (Goals): 28 (6)
Current Club: Arsenal
Much like namesake Rose, Danny Welbeck moved to Sunderland on loan to experience regular first team football. He was part of a famous 3-0 away win over Chelsea in November 2010, but his time on Wearside was unfortunately cut short by a few weeks due to injury.
4. Ola Toivonen (Sweden)
Sunderland Appearances (Goals): 14 (1)
Currrent Club: Toulouse
On loan from Rennes during the 2015/16 season, Swedish forward Ola Toivonen managed just a single goal in a Sunderland shirt. That was a consolation in a League Cup thrashing by Manchester City, while he was often left on the bench in the Premier League.
3. Jordan Pickford (England)
Sunderland Appearances (Clean Sheets): 35 (5)
Current Club: Everton
Jordan Pickford became one of the most expensive goalkeepers of all time when he completed a £25m+ move to Everton last summer. That came after just one season as Sunderland number one, during which the Black Cats were relegated, but he got a lot of practice.
2. Sebastian Larsson (Sweden)
Sunderland Appearances (Goals): 203 (14)
Current Club: AIK
Sebastian Larsson enjoyed six unbroken seasons of Premier League football with Sunderland from 2011 to 2017. He spent last season with Hull in the Championship and recently agreed to join AIK in Sweden, surprisingly his first club back home having moved to England aged 16.
1. Jordan Henderson (England)
Sunderland Appearances (Goals): 79 (5)
Current Club: Liverpool
Now Liverpool captain, Jordan Henderson was a Sunderland regular from the age of 19. The homegrown star missed just one game Premier League game during the 2010/11 season, which was the last time the Black Cats finished in the top half of the top flight table.