Curious observers will have noted that Sunderland’s £10m-man Jack Rodwell has reappeared from the shadows in the last week or so - and, naturally, questions will be asked as to whether or not the midfielder has patched things up with Sunderland boss Chris Coleman following the fallout over the player’s contract and subsequent future with the club.
The ex-Manchester City midfielder afforded an interview to Craig Hope in mid-January in an attempt to give ‘his side of the story’ with regards to why he hasn’t been involved with Sunderland’s first team since Coleman arrived, but the fallout from it did more harm than good and despite attempting to come across as someone worth taking a chance on, no agreement materialised during the transfer window in order for another club to take the player off our hands.
A pre-agreed trial with Vitesse Arnhem failed to get off the ground before it even got started due to what the Dutch side called ‘administrative issues’, and then upon the completion of January’s proceedings Coleman revealed that Rodwell had rejected an opportunity to join ‘a decent club’.
Jack had the chance to go and join a decent club but he turned that opportunity down. We were surprised on the back of him saying that he wanted to get his career back on track and play football. There was an opportunity there but he refused that opportunity.
Frustratingly for the club it would appear that the player is prepared to ride out the bumper contract that he signed with them back in August of 2014 - at a cost of around £280,000 a month in wages.
At a time of mass austerity, Rodwell’s wages in relation to what he’s contributing on the pitch do not correlate whatsoever. When you consider what the club spent on transfers in the last two windows, it’s incredibly difficult to stomach the fact that a player who isn’t featuring with the first team whatsoever is pocketing over quarter of a million quid every single month.
Which is why, then, the player is being ‘forced’ to turn out for our U23s side.
Rodwell completed ninety minutes playing at centre half in our midweek win down South against West Ham United, and then played the opening 45 minutes of our 2-0 defeat to Exeter City U23s yesterday afternoon.
Sources have told Roker Report that Coleman sees it almost as a punishment for Rodwell, who in his interview with the Mail revealed that he trains alone at the Academy of Light away from the rest of the first team players.
Elliott Dickman’s U23s side host mega-bucks Manchester City on Friday evening at the Eppleton Colliery Welfare ground and it’ll be interesting to see if Rodwell features again.
What we do know is that, despite his reemergence, it doesn’t mean that Rodwell will be back in Chris Coleman’s first team plans again any time soon.
Instead, it is more likely that we’ll keep Rodwell fit by playing in the U23s more often - who are short on defenders themselves following the decision to allow Tom Beadling leave the club on loan in order to join Allan Johnston’s Dunfermline Athletic until the end of the season.