Sunderland boss David Moyes says it was an “easy” decision to recall Everton target Lamine Kone back to his starting line-up at Southampton.
The 27-year-old centre-back had been out with a back injury and missed the games against Middlesbrough and Shrewsbury Town.
Moyes has been adamant that Kone – who had complained of a bad back less than 24 hours after turning down the offer of a new improved contract – will not be leaving the club this summer.
Before the game, Kone had tweeted: “Game Day!⚽Can’t wait to play. The field is the best place to show that I love my club and the fans!”
Moyes spoke cautiously about the situation post-match.
“He was fine, he played and did what he had to do, and we’ll see what materialises during the week,” said Moyes.
“It was an easy decision to play him because we’ve got no centre-halves, and we’re really, genuinely struggling.
“We’ve also got very few midfield players at the moment.
“But I had no concerns about him. If you’re a player and you’re here, you play.
“You’ve got a four-year contract, you’ve only served six months of it.
“So I can’t see that actually worrying about your contract situation should be in your head when you’re only in your third game of the season.”
When pressed on Kone’s future and asked how does he prepare in case he does lose him, the Sunderland boss responded: “Well, I didn’t say that, you said that. I just said that we’ll see how things materialise this week, and we’ll see what happens.”