Sunderland have given Yann M’Vila the opportunity to fulfil his potential, believes Dick Advocaat.
A lack of match fitness will see M’Vila sit out today’s Premier League opener at Leicester City, with the midfielder pencilled in to feature for the Under-21s in tomorrow’s Eppleton CW clash against Norwich City (2pm kick-off).
You can see in training his movement, his passing and he has the vision, which is importantDick Advocaat
However, when M’Vila is up to scratch physically, Sunderland boss Advocaat believes the French international will be an astute addition after arriving on a season-long loan deal from Russian club Rubin Kazan this week, with a view to a permanent switch next summer.
M’Vila lost his way during two years in Russia – making just 24 appearances for Kazan before being sent to Inter Milan on loan, and being dogged by a series of off-the-field problems.
But M’Vila was regarded as one of the top prospects in France after coming through the ranks at Rennes. He was handed his international debut aged just 20 and attracted the attention of Liverpool and Arsenal before moving to Kazan in a £10million deal.
Advocaat says M’Vila has already shown signs of that quality in training and has challenged the 25-year-old to get his career back on track.
“I’ve managed there – and the Russian league is a very strong competition,” said Advocaat.
“They have some very good players, but now because the rouble is going down, the players are starting to leave.
“If you want to become champions there, you must have really good players.
“But M’Vila’s potential there was very positive.
“We’ve given him the chance to raise his level again.
“When he was 21-22, he was playing for the French national team already. Not for Luxembourg, but for France.
“So if he can win 22 caps for that team, he must have quality.
“You can see in training his movement, his passing and he has the vision, which is important.
“He can’t play today because he is not fully fit, but he will get some minutes in the second team tomorrow.”
M’Vila’s situation is reminiscent of his new team-mate Jack Rodwell – a player who burst onto the scene boasting huge potential, yet saw his career stall after a big-money move.
Like M’Vila, Advocaat hopes Rodwell can get back on track this season after only shining sporadically during his maiden year at Sunderland.
Rodwell is a player that Advocaat rates highly from his formative days at Everton, but says he needs to begin to stamp his authority in the middle of the park.
“Jack has to learn to become more involved in the game,” added Advocaat.
“In principle, he has everything – he is a good-looking man, good legs, good body and a good football player.
“But I expect more from him.”
Rodwell is expected to start today’s clash at the King Power Stadium, with Advocaat unlikely to stray from the XI who featured in last weekend’s final pre-season friendly against Hannover 96.
Advocaat again hinted in his pre-match press conference yesterday that he was likely to stick with that line-up.
That will mean Younes Kaboul preferred at centre-half to captain John O’Shea, despite the new £3million signing’s lack of game-time since January.
But Advocaat will be able to call upon striker Steven Fletcher on the bench after the Scotland international recovered from a knock.