Sunderland boss Jack Ross responds to Didier Ndong's bold statement

Jack Ross has confirmed he has had no dialogue with AWOL midfielder Didier Ndong but hopes there can be a resolution to the ongoing saga soon.

Saturday, 22nd September 2018, 6:33 pm
Updated Saturday, 22nd September 2018, 6:37 pm
Didier Ndong.

While the Sunderland boss hasn't had direct contact with the wantaway midfielder, he confirmed there had been dialogue between Ndong's representatives and the Sunderland hierarchy.

There had been hopes of a resolution soon, with the midfielder having been AWOL since the start of the summer.

Ross was responding after Ndong broke his silence overnight and said he wanted to return to the Stadium of Light - and was even willing to take a pay cut.

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It remains doubtful that the midfielder would return to training and even if he did a first team return is unlikely to be on the cards, with Ross keen to maintain the team spirit he has worked so hard to create since taking charge.

Sunderland beat Rochdale 4-1 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon and Ross said the Ndong situation was of "zero interest" to him with the Scot understandably keen to focus on the victory.

The overnight Ndong reports had also claimed that agent Seb Ewan and the PFA will represent Ndong in a meeting with manager Ross as he looks to reintegrate into the Black Cats' squad.

When asked about the Ndong comments, Ross said: "There has been no dialogue with me.

"I did read a report yesterday that one of his representatives had been in contact with me, that is not the case.

"I know there has been communication with the club, some of his representatives - or people who portray themselves as his representatives - but I don't know anymore than that.

"It has been a long complicated matter, we thought we were getting close to a solution, we will see how that pans out.

"Certainly today, it is of zero interest to me. We will see how it plays out over the coming days as well."

The Gabon international, who remains the Black Cats' record signing, failed to return to the club for pre-season having spent the second half of last season on loan at Premier League side Watford.

Ndong, who joined the club from Lorient in 2016, was keen to seal a move away from the Stadium of Light over the summer - with Torino, Leganes and Benfica all showing an interest.

But no such deal materialised, leaving Ndong's future in the balance with Ross stating ahead of the game that a resolution to the Ndong situation was 'edging closer'. It comes after fellow wantaway Papy Djilobodji was issued notice that his contract would be terminated.

Speaking to news outlet iSport, Ndong said: "I’m ready to see my salary reduced, as long as I’m putting my boots on with Sunderland.

"I’m ready to fight to get the club back into the second division."

The report stated Ndong had spent time in Morroco but has now left the country to try and seal a return to the North East.