Dick Advocaat is confident Jack Rodwell CAN still be a success in a Sunderland shirt, but says the £10million man needs to overcome his fitness problems.
Rodwell was the big money buy in Sunderland’s recruitment drive last summer, yet only produced a sporadic contribution, albeit he was one of the Black Cats’ brightest performers in last weekend’s final game at Chelsea.
Playing in the holding role in the absence of Lee Cattermole, Rodwell impressed against the Premier League champions.
Niggling groin, calf and hamstring problems have plagued the England international, who started just 17 league games in his maiden campaign at the Stadium of Light.
Advocaat has taken Rodwell aside and stressed to him that he is one of the club’s best players, but he needs to show that and may need to play through the pain barrier to achieve a consistent run of games.
The Dutchman, expected to make a decision tomorrow on whether he will remain at Sunderland, cited the example of Wes Brown to Rodwell, with the ex-Manchester United man playing 28 games this season, despite long-standing issues with his knee.
“I had a conversation with him,” said Advocaat.
“I think Jack is still a very promising player for this club.
“He’s only 24 years old, and I still believe in him with the way he can play.
“He can play left, right or central midfield, and in the holding role.
“But he cannot go on the way he is now, because you can’t count on him.
“Maybe he trains three days, but then it’s not possible for him to play at the weekend.
“We have to find how to stop him going on this way.”
Advocaat admits that Rodwell’s constant stints on the treatment table have knocked his confidence, particularly after two years at Manchester City where his career was almost put on ice.
The midfielder joined City in a big-money move from Everton, but barely featured before deciding to switch to Wearside last summer.
“Of course, it affects his confidence,” added Advocaat.
“But someone, it doesn’t matter who, has to find out what’s causing the problems.”