Djilobodji and Ndong saga will act as a strong learning curve for Sunderland in future, says Jack Ross

Jack Ross believes the Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong saga will act as a strong learning curve for Sunderland to ensure the club never finds itself in a similar position again.

Thursday, 13th September 2018, 2:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th September 2018, 2:22 pm
Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

On Wednesday, Sunderland announced they had given Djilobodji notice that they intend to terminate his contract.

It came after the defender, under contract until 2020, last week briefly ended his self-imposed 72-day exile, only to turn up out of shape.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross.

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It is understood the centre-back was given written permission not to return to the club at the start of pre-season training as he looked to secure a transfer away however he did not return as planned last month and when he did return, he comprehensively failed a fitness test.

With that in mind, it is understood the Black Cats believe he has in essence terminated his own contract, with the 29-year-old at a minimum weeks away from realistically being fit to play.

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When asked about Djilobodji, Ross said: "It hasn't really affected me in anyway because his absence has meant I haven't had to contend with any issues from it and the way it has developed since and the current situation meant it hasn't impacted on me.

"There is an awful lot of other people at the club who have invested a lot of time and effort into trying to find a solution, I'm sure that will continue to be the case.

"From my perspective it has been relatively straightforward and I am grateful to the other people for taking that away from me," added the Sunderland boss at his pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to Burton Albion.

When pressed that the strong stance would make the wider football world sit up and take notice, Ross added: "I don't want to comment on it too specifically because I don't want to prejudice anything moving forward in anyway.

"Again, it is reflective of the sea change in every aspect of the club and how we would like to conduct ourselves moving forward in all aspects of the club.

"From my area, it extends out to how we recruit, why we recruit and what those players will do for us in the future.

"For the new ownership and structure it is a good learning experience to make sure that we don't find ourselves in these situations in the future.

"You would want to cut down the possibilities of having a similar type of scenario again."

Fellow wantaway Ndong has been AWOL since the start of the summer and is yet to return and club officials do not know where he is.

While the situation with Djilobodji has accelerated this week, the situation with Ndong remains much the same.

When asked what the latest situation is, Ross added: "I don't know, no idea. It hasn't been an issue for me because he has never been here since I took the job and that has remained the case.

"Again, I am not avoiding the question. My focus is on getting the best out of the playing squad I have available.

"He is a player that has never been part of that squad, until I am ever told otherwise then I don't really think about him. I leave that to others to deal with.

"I speak to Stewart regularly and he has his own particularly viewpoint on that and I'm sure that will come to the fore over the coming period as well."