Rowell Report: Brown display was best this season for Sunderland

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
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I KNOW there has not been too much opposition in this largely disappointing season but when it comes to individual performances, I would rate Wes Brown’s against Man City as the best we’ve seen so far.

His performance was outstanding and when you take into consideration the circumstances and his almost two years out of the game, then it gains extra significance.

It is hard enough for a 24-year-old to be out off the game for almost two years to make a successful comeback.

But for a 34-year-old to not only come back into the team but play at such a high standard, is very rare.

If Brown (pictured) can maintain his fitness, it will be a huge bonus for Sunderland.

I think Paolo Di Canio said on the eve of the season that if he could 12, 15 or 20 games out of Wes this season, then it would have been worth the gamble of keeping him on the books.

You can see where Di Canio is coming from because even though his time at Sunderland has been ruined by injuries, just about every time he takes to the field he proves he’s still a class act.

He played in the Hong Kong pre-season tournament, performing superbly and was looking good, only for injury to strike again, delaying his return until recent weeks.

After his most intense and challenging week for two years, starting with 45 minutes at Hull and then two full games against Southampton and Manchester City, the two-.week break will have come at a good time for him, allowing his body maximum time to rest and recover.

There were plenty of rumours about whether or not he would ever play for Sunderland again and when you are in your 30s and are out injured for so long, doubts must cross your mind.

But Wes Brown has shown the mental strength to overcome these hurdles and not only return to the team but look as though he has never been away.

His real test though will be in the coming weeks and months, as he needs to prove he can stay injury-free and play on a regular basis.

After a long time absent, the first game or two are usually the easiest, as you can get by on sheer adrenalin.

But it remains to be seen whether he can play Saturday to Saturday for a couple of months without missing a game.

Every Sunderland fan will be hoping he can do this, especially after that performance against Man City, as if he can play like that regularly and help organise the back-four to a clean sheet against the Premier League top scorers, he can do it against any team.