Blackburn boss explains why he wanted to sign former Sunderland man Jack Rodwell
Tony Mowbray has urged Blackburn Rovers supporters not to judge Jack Rodwell on his wretched time at Sunderland, but admits the midfielder will have to earn his place in the side.
Rodwell has signed a short-term deal at Ewood Park after the Championship side made an encouraging start to their league season.
The 27-year-old has not played a senior competitive game since turning out in the Checkatrade Trophy last November, but Mowbray has no doubts that he can make an impact.
He said: “I’ve seen his clips and when he did play for Sunderland he was fast across the ground, competitive and with great passing ability. I’m excited to see what he can do. Forget the salary he was on at Sunderland, let’s judge him on his football ability and how he does for us.
“It’s going to give us some options and that’s what we’re really looking for. Where this boy has played his football at - Everton, Manchester City, playing for England three times, that shows his calibre.
“We all know what’s gone on at Sunderland over the the last few years. I’ve said to him to come here, get his boots on, come and train with us and enjoy your football.
“I’m looking forward to working with him. He was very close to signing for Watford a few weeks ago and if we can get him back to those levels he was at then he will be a very good signing for us," he added.
“He will give us flexibility, he’s 6’3, is lean, is fast, can tackle and is comfortable on the ball. It’s up to him to prove to himself and others that he is still a very good footballer.
“He’s not coming here to play on Saturday or next Tuesday, he’s coming here to get in the team and the only way he will do that at the start is by showing what he can do on the training pitch."
Rodwell himself says he wants 'to love the game again'.
“I’ve had 10 years of first team football and at 27 I am still relatively young, so I have that youth and experience under my belt, which will hopefully show in my performances," he said.
“I will be aiming to use that experience to help the team.
“I don’t think I have anything to prove. I want to enjoy it and prove to myself, to be honest. I want to love the game again and play week-in, week-out.
“It feels brilliant to sign here,” he added.
“I’ve obviously had a bit of time off, but I can’t wait to get going again. It’s a great club and I’m just really excited to be playing again.
“It’s important to get out there and start playing football again. There have been ups and downs over the years, but that’s in the past and now I’m just looking forward and focused on the future.”