Wahbi Khazri IS part of David Moyes’ Sunderland plans – and will be given his first start of the season tonight against Shrewsbury Town in the EFL Cup second round tie.
The winger, signed from Bordeaux for £9million in January, was a key player for Sam Allardyce in last season’s successful battle against the drop.
But he is yet to start a competitive game under Moyes and didn’t even make it off the bench in the defeat to Middlesbrough.
There had been rumours Khazri might be close to the exit door at the Stadium of Light, but the Echo understands that is not the case.
When asked if Khazri was still part of his plans, Moyes told the Echo: “Yes, definitely.
“They are all part of my plans.
“Just because they don’t play in the opening games doesn’t mean they are not part of the plans.
“Wahbi came back a week after everyone else and he has just looked a little behind everyone else as well, in the pre-season games I have seen.
“Wahbi will play tonight.
“I think he looks as if he was in need of another couple of pre-season games, from what we have seen, but he will get the opportunity to play.”
Khazri was named on the bench for the season opener away at Manchester City, coming on as a second-half sub.
But Moyes kept him on the bench for the game against Boro, with Steven Pienaar, Jeremain Lens and Joel Asoro brought on ahead of him.
Sunderland host Shrewsbury (7.45pm kick-off), and Khazri will start against the League One side.
The 25-year-old Tunisian international – who netted 14 goals in 49 starts for Bordeaux – signed a four-and-a-half year deal when he arrived on Wearside.