OUT-OF-FAVOUR Cabral is ready to battle to regain his Sunderland starting spot.
Supporters have been puzzled by Cabral’s fall from grace after the summer signing impressed in pre-season and in the opening game of the campaign against Fulham.
The 24-year-old was not even in the 18 for last weekend’s clash with Arsenal and turned out for Sunderland’s Under-21s at Liverpool on Tuesday night.
Paolo Di Canio admits Cabral, who penned a three-year deal with Sunderland during the summer, has fallen down his pecking order, although he insists the former FC Basel man’s chance will come again.
But far from being disgruntled with the situation, Cabral’s representative, Walter Fernandez, insists the player respects Di Canio’s decision and is doubling his efforts on the training ground to prove he can make the grade in the Premier League.
“Speaking for myself, I have been a bit surprised that he hasn’t played after he did very, very well against Fulham,” he said.
“But I am confident he will still be a success in the Premier League.
“We must respect the views of the manager, Di Canio. He is in charge and he makes the decisions.
“Cabral is doubling his efforts in training to try to get back into the team.”
Di Canio believes Cabral currently lacks the physical intensity needed to thrive as a Premier League midfielder.
But the Italian has not closed the door on the Bosman arrival.
Di Canio insists there will be games which suit Cabral’s style, yet the head coach is not short on midfield options after Lee Cattermole’s return to favour has seen the ex-skipper joining Seb Larsson, Craig Gardner, David Vaughan and Ki Sung-Yeung in competing for the two central berths.
“Cabral has got different qualities to the others,” added Di Canio.
“He is not fazed, very calm, but also not aggressive and not a physical presence.
“He’s got a bit more difficulty, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have his chance in the future.”