BOLO Zenden today confirmed he will quit Sunderland this summer in order to prolong the tail end of his career.
The club captain has become increasingly frustrated at being restricted to a bit-part role after playing just six hours of first-team football since the turn of the year, despite Sunderland’s dire injury problems.
Zenden held talks with boss Steve Bruce last week and indicated he will look for pastures new when his contract expires in the summer, with the former Dutch international turning 35 in August.
He admits that Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Wolves was almost certainly his last outing for Sunderland at the Stadium of Light and will end his two-year tenure with the Black Cats in Sunday’s final day encounter at relegated West Ham.
Zenden told the Echo: “That was my last home game – it’s more than likely to be, anyway. I had a chat with the manager last week and explained the situation.
“I just want to be able to play a bit more. I’ve played the last two games, but it’s not nice to have to wait until 10 people are injured before you get an opportunity.
“It’s been a season of two halves, where I played a lot more in the first half of the year than the second.
“I still think I can play at this level and that’s why it’s important to play more regularly because that makes it easier to keep going.”
If it was to be Zenden’s final outing in red and white on Wearside, then it was a low point to go out on as Sunderland collapsed after the break for the second successive home game.
Zenden was left to bemoan Sunderland’s failure to make the most of their first half dominance, with ex-Black Cats defender Jody Craddock giving Wolves the advantage completely against the run of play.
“It’s easy to say you lose 3-1 at home and it’s very bad,” said Zenden. “But they had four chances and scored three, which is frustrating.
“With the chances we had, we were disappointed to come in at half-time level.
“I hit the woodwork, Cristian (Riveros) was almost in twice and it’s hard to take that on the chin.”
The former Barcelona winger added: “Of course the second half wasn’t that good, but I have to admit what made it difficult was them scoring a goal out of nowhere.
“Each time the ball came into the box, it seemed there was someone free to score. Even when the third went in, there was still plenty of time to go if we could have got a quick goal.
“I put a cross in for Ryan (Noble), which he was really close to.
“We might have deserved a penalty as well when it was 2-1. Stephane (Sessegnon) tried to shoot and got pushed over, but the referee said there was no contact. Maybe that decision could have changed the game in our favour.”