JACK COLBACK has backed deadline day signing Danny Rose to hold down Sunderland’s left-back slot and allow him to return to midfield.
Colback has operated admirably as a makeshift full-back for each of the Black Cats’ last two games after Kieran Richardson’s move to Fulham forced Martin O’Neill to turn to the 22-year-old.
But the capture of on-loan Tottenham man Rose has boosted Sunderland’s options at left-back, with both O’Neill and Colback himself keen to see the Tynesider resume his midfield duties.
Rose was left in the stands for Sunderland’s last Premier League outing at Swansea due to a lack of match fitness after failing to appear domestically this season.
The 22-year-old was not able to participate in training prior to the game and only completed his first day at the Academy of Light yesterday.
But Rose’s sharpness has been boosted by two outings for the England under-21s during the international break and Colback expects him to secure a starting spot, potentially as early as tomorrow’s clash with Liverpool.
Colback told the Echo: “The manager has brought Danny in and he’s a left-back. I’m sure he’ll be looking to make that position his own.
“I see myself as a central midfielder and I want to be playing there. I feel I can offer the team more from central midfield.
“I’m happy playing at left-back. I’ve always said I’d rather play left-back than be on the bench. It’s a role I feel comfortable doing.
“But let’s see what the manager does. Midfield is the position I’ve played for 10-odd years now. I’m not an established left-back by any means.
“I’ll take it how it comes tomorrow. Whether I’m at left-back or not, I’ll have the same mentality.
“Obviously when you first go there, it’s a bit of a surreal feeling because you’re not really sure of the position.
“But I feel comfortable there and I’m happy to do a job there if the managers picks me.”
Should Rose succeed Colback at left-back, then the latter faces a stern challenge to earn a starting spot in central midfield.
Although midfield man Craig Gardner is being forced to operate at right-back, the arrival of Adam Johnson has seen Seb Larsson move into a more central role alongside Lee Cattermole, while David Meyler and David Vaughan wait in the wings.
Colback added: “It was the case last year when players came in that there was a lot of competition for places. That’s good for the club because we always seem to get a lot of injuries here. I don’t know why.
“You need a strong squad and there’s one here now. There’s players who maybe aren’t in the starting XI who have got real quality to come off the bench.”