Jack Rodwell: I can play for England again as a centre-half
Jack Rodwell insists he can play for England again - despite being unable to get into the Sunderland team.
Rodwell is looking to leave the Black Cats this month for a fresh start after seeing his career stall at the Stadium of Light since a £10million move from Manchester City three years ago.
A succession of injuries and a loss of form has seen his stock plummet since the days he made his England debut as a 20-year-old.
Rodwell won three international caps, all as a midfielder, but hasn't played for the Three Lions since 2013.
However, he believes a return to his old position of centre-half could see him return to the Premier League - and the England fold.
"I do believe I'm a Premier League player and I do believe I'm an England international when I'm fit and on form," he told the Daily Mail.
"Whether I have to take a backwards step first to prove that, I'm open to it, if that's what it takes I will do whatever to get back.
"Growing up through the England ranks I was captain and those three senior caps have left me wanting more. I still think it's well within my reach, especially at centre back. I just need a good run where I can really express myself and people say, "Wow, Jack's back".
"It was only when I was fast-tracked into the first team, they put me in midfield, it was a bit safer. I do wonder, "What if?" If I'd just said, "I'm a centre back", where would I be now?
"The game has changed a lot. Centre backs now are ball-playing and a lot of midfielders drop in there. I know the position. I'm big enough, I'm quick enough, I'm good in the air. I've got the tools."
Rodwell previously told former Sunderland manager Simon Grayson that he wanted to be considered as a centre-half, and played a couple of games for the Under-23s in that position.
New manager Chris Coleman has yet to call upon the 26-year-old, however, instead sending him to train with the second string at the Academy of Light while bringing in young Chelsea defender Jake Clarke-Salter on loan.
Sunderland have told Rodwell he is free to find another club this month, as they hope to get the player's £70,000-a-week wage off their books, and the player himself says he is fit and raring to play - either elsewhere or with Sunderland, if selected.
"A lot is made of my injuries and yes, I've had niggles and muscle problems,' he added. "Some managers haven't picked me and my form has played a part at times as well.
"But my availability has been good here, one season it was over 90 per cent. There was a period under Sam (Allardyce) when was I playing regularly and playing well.
"Sadly, Sam left for England. I've never had a career-threatening injury and I'm always looking for new ways to prevent those niggles. Touch wood, that seems to be working right now."