BOLO Zenden says if he doesn’t start tomorrow’s Wear-Tyne derby, he wants to be Sunderland’s super sub!
The club captain is desperate to be involved in the game but says if he is not in the starting XI, he wants to have an influential role in coming off the bench.
Zenden was an unused substitute in the 5-1 drubbing at St James’s Park in October – the Dutchman watching in horror from the dugout as his team-mates failed to perform.
And he is keeping his fingers crossed he will be involved in helping Sunderland redress the balance.
He told the Echo: “I haven’t given up hope of starting the game – that’s something that is in the manager’s hands.
“But if he decides to put me on the bench, I hope that at least I get the chance to come on at some stage and help the team.
“In football, every member of the first team squad has their part to play and in derby games in particular, substitutes can be important.
“The way that derby games seem to go is that first one team can be very much on top and then something happens and the other team is very much on top.
“Sometimes it takes something like a substitution to swing a game in a different direction. And I hope if I am called off the bench I can help do that for Sunderland this weekend.”
Sunderland have a youthful side and Bruce openly questioned himself after the 5-1 defeat over whether or not he should have turned to more experienced players like Zenden.
The Dutchman hopes he will be tempted to do that this weekend but he believes the squad are ready, regardless.
He said: “I train every day with these players and I see the talent we have here.
“I also see how the team spirit is building and how the team is getting stronger and more confident as we grow together.
“The Newcastle result hurt everyone here and I think everyone is united in wanting to put that result right for Sunderland this weekend.
“If we get it, it will be a great three points for us in the context of the season. But more importantly it will have given us the derby victory our fans need.”