Sunderland boss backs Rodwell for England return

Jack Rodwell.

Jack Rodwell.

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GUS POYET wants to help Jack Rodwell fulfil his international ambitions by earning an England recall with Sunderland.

The loss of Rodwell’s place in Roy Hodgson’s plans was one of the key reasons behind the midfielder’s decision to leave Manchester City this summer after starting just seven Premier League games during two years at the Etihad.

Following his arrival at the Stadium of Light in a £10million deal last week, Rodwell immediately made it clear that he was hoping to force his way back into the England set-up after he was a frustrated spectator during the summer’s World Cup.

And Poyet is equally keen for Rodwell - expected to make his Sunderland debut in tomorrow’s Premier League opener at West Brom - to be back on the international stage, as he knows it will have stemmed from positive performances for the Black Cats.

The Sunderland boss told the Echo: “We had an option to buy Jack because he’s been at Man City a couple of years without playing.

“He needs to play because we want him to be in the national team very soon.

“And for that, he needs to perform.”

Since Rodwell’s signing, Sunderland have added both Santiago Vergini and Will Buckley to a squad which was depleted by the loss of 12 players at the end of last season.

But Rodwell was a key figure in Poyet’s blueprint for the new campaign after the Uruguayan was determined to land a high-quality box-to-box midfielder.

Rodwell had options from a dozen Premier League clubs, plus Serie A side Napoli, but Poyet praised both the 23-year-old and Sunderland sporting director Lee Congerton for making the move happen.

Poyet added: “It wasn’t easy. Credit to everybody involved in the deal.

“Credit to him as well that he decided to come with us.

“It wasn’t an easy one. There was a lot of hard work and at the end, we’re really pleased to have him.

“When you are in the situation that we are and the players we lost, when you get a player of his qualities, the age, the power and the ability, it’s key.

“We just need to make sure that we take him in the right way, slowly to get him fit to play 90 minutes. He hasn’t played a lot.

“But he’s going to give us a lot. I’m really looking forward to having him here.”