David Moyes might not see himself as the ‘chosen one’ – but that’s the way Jack Rodwell viewed him when he arrived at Sunderland.
With the club still reeling from Sam Allardyce’s move to the Football Association, Ellis Short knew he needed a quick appointment to ensure the club got back on the right course.
Moyes was always the frontrunner, and having worked under him at Everton, if Rodwell could have hand-picked a successor to Big Sam it would have been his old gaffer.
And now, as the pair prepare to face the club where both made their name this coming Monday, Rodwell admits he’s enjoying working alongside his former mentor again.
“When Sam left we were all disappointed, he was good for us and did a great job here but when the manager [Moyes] started to get linked with the job, he is the one I would have chosen,” said the midfielder.
“Not just for me, but for the team too. On a personal note, he was always good for me growing up at Everton.
“It has been brilliant and hopefully I can continue in the team. I am enjoying having him as a manager.”
Moyes has spent the last fortnight working hard on the training pitch, trying to gel the new signings such as Didier Ndong, Jason Denayer and Victor Anichebe while he still tries to get to grips with the existing squad who he hasn’t had much time to work with either.
While the international break can sometimes be a hindrance to managers, with players jetting off and the training ground having an empty feel to it, it has come at a good time for Moyes.
Rodwell said: “It has been a bit of a whirlwind, the manager has come in and only had a bit of time to get to know the players before the first games of the season.
“The last couple of weeks, for him and for us, has been good to get to know each other and the new lads can gel and he can get to grips with us.
“It has been a good couple of weeks training and the international players are coming back now so we can focus on the game.
“It has been a bit more individual the training, but it has been good.”
In fact, it’s been like old times for Rodwell. Moyes has introduced sessions that brought him success at Everton and while his career has taken him since to Manchester United and La Liga, Rodwell can see many of the traits he had at Goodison Park.
“You know what, he is very similar,” he added.
“He is dedicated and works really hard and he expects that from his players, his methods in that sense are very similar.
“He has been good for me and he has done quite a few sessions that he used to do, it is all coming back to mind now and it has been fun.
“We have one point on the board but I feel that we have been unlucky and it is not quite a fair reflection of how we have done.
“We conceded a late goal at Man City and the Middlesbrough game I thought we were the better team for the majority of the game, unlucky to concede at Southampton too in the last five minutes.
“The City and the Southampton games we conceded late goals but looking at the goals, it was an own goal in the last minute against City.
“It can happen any game, it is not really a defensive error, it was more individual.
“We shouldn’t be sat here with one point but we are.
“I think there are a lot of positives to take into the Everton game.”
And with the clash against their old club on the horizon, it’s been a chance for Rodwell to take stock of where Sunderland are now in comparison with Everton at a similar juncture when Moyes first took charge.
The 25-year-old believes the Black Cats boss can replicate the success he had on Merseyside – if not better it
“I believe (we’re moving in the right direction),” he added. “The manager did it at Everton where the squad wasn’t as good at the start as it was when he left.
“He had time there, a good 10 years to put his stamp on it. Hopefully he can get that here and develop us into an even better team.
“The squad here now is a good squad with plenty of good things to work with.
“Hopefully we can move forward.”