Kit Symons reveals the truth behind Jack Rodwell's controversial Sunderland exile

Former Sunderland assistant manager Kit Symons has revealed the truth behind Jack Rodwell’s exile - and how he and Chris Coleman viewed the controversial character.

Symons, who joined Coleman at the Stadium of Light during the club’s ill-fated 2017/18 campaign, was speaking about his spell on Wearside during an appearance on the ‘Dodgy Knee Excuse’ podcast.

And the 48-year-old has revealed how he and Coleman planned to start Rodwell in their first game in charge of the Black Cats - only to see the midfielder withdraw from a light training session.

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“That first day I went up there, for the Millwall game, Jonny [Williams] got injured, Duncan [Watmore] got injured and there were a few other knocks,” explained Symons.

Ex-Sunderland midfielder Jack RodwellEx-Sunderland midfielder Jack Rodwell
Ex-Sunderland midfielder Jack Rodwell

“The next day we went into training and Jack was there and me and Chris were watching him. He’s a good size, a good physique, he moves well and me and Chris knew all the stories, but thought ‘he’s starting on Tuesday’ when we had Aston Villa at Villa Park.

“It was a light Sunday session and with about five minutes to go he walks off the training pitch holding his hamstring. Nobody has got to more than a jog during the training session, and we never saw him again after that.

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“He played two games for the reserves. He was just out injured for ages and he was never available to play.”

And while Coleman and Symons had been aware of Rodwell’s prior reputation, they were prepared to hand the midfielder an opportunity.

“It was a difficult time and we needed all the help we could get, basically,” added Symons.

“He was brilliant at Everton as a kid. He didn’t play that much at Manchester City and had a lot of injuries, to be fair.

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“And then he had a terrible record, a terrible time at Sunderland.

“There’s always two sides to every story. He’ll have his side to it.

“But we came in, we didn’t care about what had gone on in the past, we just wanted people to help the club and keep us in the Championship.

“We needed people who wanted to help us, and Jack didn’t do that.”