I wonder what Jack Rodwell made of yesterday’s game after a group of young lads, who likely don’t collectively match his weekly wage, played out of their skin for ninety minutes, securing three vital points for the club that pays his outrageous wage packet.
Hopefully he was sat at home laboriously chewing away on a lovely, dry slice of humble pie whilst his agent soothed him with tales of a bright future lying in wait for England’s future centre-half.
Chris Coleman, on the other hand, must surely have been sat with a glass of something strong in his grasp, swirling the ice around the edge knowing that our victory yesterday on Wearside needs to be the start of something profound in order to reverse the club’s dismal form, affording himself a wry smile as he leans back into his chair.
I mentioned yesterday that Rodwell’s revealing interview earlier in the week with Craig Hope of the Daily Mail might actually do some good - though not necessarily for him.
It was clear to see that Chris Coleman was angered by Rodwell’s impetuous attempts at forcing the club’s hand during the week, yet thankfully Coleman has seemingly navigated the situation with his typical brand of no-nonsense clarity, turning the potential hazard into something valuable.
The Sunderland manager has remained firm with his stance on it all, as he noted to the press on Friday:
I can’t drag him [Rodwell] onto the pitch and say ‘please Jack, come and play football for Sunderland,’ and I shouldn’t have to. We’re sitting the day before a big game talking about a player that doesn’t want to play for the club.
I’d rather talk about Asoro or Maja, these players who do want to play for the club, and who can help us, inexperienced though they are. They are putting themselves up. We might play badly, we might play well, but they are here and they are having a go at it.
I don’t really want to talk about players who don’t want to be here and don’t want to have a go at it because that is not going to help us out, although I understand you have to ask the question.
As expected, those very players Coleman listed as being up for the fight were key components in yesterday’s success - with Joel Asoro scoring the match winner.
So, has Rodwell unintentionally inspired the sparks of a renaissance at the club?
⚡️'I had to believe in myself. If I got the chance I needed to shoot.''@joelasoro1 and @joshmaja continue to take it all in their stride as the pair admit 'it's just one win, onto the next one...' pic.twitter.com/r7Qm57fBhZ— Sunderland AFC ⚪ (@SunderlandAFC) January 20, 2018
Perhaps he has, though time will tell.
Yesterday, however, saw Sunderland players both old and young rally together and fight for the badge. Unwittingly, Rodwell presented Coleman with the ammunition to gee up the troops, and they duly delivered... even without the £70k man in the squad.
Imagine you’re one of the young lads, and you hear a ‘seasoned pro’ say he’s fit and ready to play for another side whilst he’s sat doing nothing on a vastly superior contract to you - how would you feel? I know I’d be desperate to go out there and show the manager why I’m the man for the job - and that’s exactly what the likes of Asoro, Maja, Robson, Honeyman and Gooch did.
Along with the experienced players in our squad, they simultaneously won us the game whilst also displaying their unwavering loyalty to the man at the helm. Jack Rodwell has somehow created an enhanced community spirit within the club whilst remaining totally aloof from it - it’s like some weird paradox that couldn’t exist anywhere else other than somewhere near the immediacy of the former Manchester City and Everton midfielder himself.
Hopefully Coleman and co. carry on this new sense of pride and passion going into our next game away to Birmingham - fingers crossed, Rodwell will be gone while our young lads continue to show the fans why they deserve the chance again to help fix our failing club’s fortunes. I’m excited again.