Dick Advocaat has praised Jack Rodwell on his recent good form while still laying down a challenge for the £10mil midfielder to show more aggression. Speaking to the Sunderland Echo Advocaat said:
"I think Rodwell can do even better, even though the Swansea game was the best game I have seen from him. He can play much better aggression-wise, second ball-wise and interaction during the game. In principle, he is a player that can use his right and left foot, but the aggression is part of it too. If you can't do that in the top league, then you have no chance."
Where Rodwell fits into side going forward remains to be seen, especially given the arrival of both Ola Toivonen and Yann M'Vila on loan during the summer transfer window. Both players, but M'Vila in particular, have now set a benchmark for others to aspire to. Rodwell, Gomez, Larsson and indeed Cattermole will now be anxiously awaiting news of Advocaat's team selection come Sunday when the Black Cats host Spurs at the Stadium of Light.
Cattermole has unfortunately had a torrid start to the season and was substituted at half time against Aston Villa after conceding a needless penalty, allowing Sherwood's men to quickly get back into the game. However Advocaat has refused to be critical of the combative enforcer, publicly at least, adding:
"You will not hear any bad words about Lee from me because last season he did a really great job for this club. Maybe he's not in the right shape, particularly when he doesn't have a direct man to mark. That's why we changed it at Villa. But we're going in the right direction, believe me."