Jack Ross insists situation ‘not black and white’ with Sunderland’s wantaway players

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Jack Ross says that the situation is not ‘black and white’ with a number of players presumed to be wanting out of Sunderland this summer.

The Black Cats’ squad returned for pre-season training on Wednesday, with a number mulling over their future.

Sunderland boss Jack Ross. Picture by Kevin Brady

Sunderland boss Jack Ross. Picture by Kevin Brady

Chairman Stewart Donald has said that a number of agents have told the club that their clients would like to leave, but Ross believes some can be talked into staying.

He has been encouraged with the feedback at the Academy of Light this week and says some players have expressed a desire to put the club back where it belongs.

Ross said: “Apart from those ones who got a little bit extra time off [everyone is back].

“I understood what Stewart was saying, speaking to players in here, I think there’s probably quite a few for who it is not quite black and white.

“There are some who it is and that’s fine, but there’s others, when you have conversations relayed through third parties, it’s not always as clear.

“Agents and representatives have their own job to do in terms of promoting players and where they might take them, but speaking to players face to face has been good.

“There’s quite a few who like it and enjoy it, and some who have said to me, they’ve been part of the demise in the last couple of years, they don’t want to shy away from that and so are eager to try and take it back up.

“So it’s important to stress that, and it’s up to me to try to foster that throughout the squad.”

Sunderland have a handful of players who they are eager to move due to their high salaries, and a group whose future is uncertain.

Ross will get the chance to assess both their abilities and their desire to stay in the coming weeks.

He believes that he will be able to keep those who can make a difference next season.

The Sunderland boss admits, however, that he cannot yet be sure which players will be staying ahead of the new campaign.

He said: “If we’re in a position where we offload some who are desperate to go and have been on Premier League contracts, then it allows us to be comfortable in the sense of carrying some who are really good players.

“That’s determined by their hunger to stay and the ones I’ve worked with so far, I’ve not seen any suggestion that they’re not keen.

“But it is very fluid at the moment and it is very difficult for me to predict what team I’ll have at the start of the season.”