Jack Rodwell makes first team return as he bids to earn Watford contract
Jack Rodwell played 45 minutes for Watford on Saturday as he seeks to earn a contract at the Premier League club.
Rodwell joined the Hornets on trial earlier this week and featured in a 3-1 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf.
It is the first football he has played since February this year, when the 27-year-old played in a Sunderland U23 game at Exeter City.
He trained away from the first team in the final months of his disastrous spell on Wearside after telling Chris Coleman he did not want to play for the club and turning down a deadline day move to the Eredivisie.
His last competitive appearance for the first team came in a 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United last September.
He was heavily linked with a move to AEK Athens after agreeing to cancel his contract one year early this summer.
Chairman Stewart Donald said the midfielder and his representative had been 'very sensible' in coming to that agreement.
The prospective switch to Greece never materialised, however, and now Rodwell has been given an unexpected chance of returning to the Premier League.
Rodwell played in midfield against the German side, with coach Javi Gracia short of options in that department.
Didier Ndong, on loan at Vicarage Road last season, is now back on Sunderland's books (though not present for pre-season), while Tom Cleverley will miss the start of the season.
Fellow central midfielders Will Hughes and Roberto Pereyra have both suffered serious injuries in recent seasons.