Dick Advocaat wants to see Jack Rodwell regularly return to the form which saw him make his name at boyhood club Everton.
Rodwell netted an excellent long-range goal in Sunderland’s 3-1 defeat to Club de Futbol Pachuba on Saturday and could have added a couple more during the opening 20 minutes, before the Black Cats faded badly against the Mexican outfit.
The £10million midfielder has caught the eye on the training ground since Sunderland returned to pre-season after admitting last week that he wants to silence the remaining doubters questioning last summer’s big money move from Manchester City.
Advocaat personally spoke with Rodwell at the end of last season about the England international’s need to rid himself of the niggling injuries which have blighted him over the last three years and make good on his potential.
And despite the loss to Pachuba, Advocaat was heartened by the signs shown from Rodwell in Sunderland’s latest pre-season outing.
Advocaat said: “He could have scored two or three.
In the first 15 minutes, it was the way I know Jack from EvertonDick Advocaat
“In the first 15 minutes, it was the way I know Jack from Everton.
“That has to continue and improve.
“But I can see the difference in him.”
Advocaat would still like to add a creative midfielder to his squad this summer, with the ex-Holland manager due to hold talks with Sunderland chairman Ellis Short today over further spending.
Spurs midfielder Moussa Dembele could be one possibility after being linked with a move over the weekend.
But as well as Rodwell, Advocaat also has Emanuele Giaccherini back available after the Italian international missed the bulk of last season through injury, while Jordi Gomez is stepping up his training regime in his comeback from a fractured knee cap.
“You can see Giaccherini is a little bit out of air because it’s unbelievable how hard he’s training,” added Advocaat.
“Jordi is still to come back too. We have some possibilities to do things in the team.”