JACK Rodwell plans to use the international break to get fully up to speed in a Sunderland shirt.
The 23-year-old has been fighting for complete match fitness since his £10m move from Manchester City following two seasons at the Etihad where he was rarely called on in first-team games.
But now the three-times capped England international feels he is getting close to doing himself justice after featuring in eight out of Sunderland’s first nine games this season.
“I’m definitely getting there and I should be properly ready by the time the next game comes around,“ he said.
“The first few games, you’re just feeling your way in and getting your fitness – I still am.
“But I am feeling better each game, and after the international break hopefully I will be back to 100%.”
The former Everton star was involved in just 16 Premier League matches with City and had less than half-an-hour’s league football with the Blues in the whole of 2014.
And that left Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet looking to work his star buy hard to regain his former sharpness, while avoiding burn-out
Rodwell’s early displays for the Black Cats have been up and down in terms of quality but he feels that being played so regularly will speed up his quest for consistency and the chance to show Sunderland fans what he’s capable of.
“I got to start three games in a week with the matches against Burnley, Stoke and Swansea,” he recalled.
“That was tough.
“I felt a little bit tired in the last game to be honest, probably due to the effects of the back-to-back games beforehand.
“But I’d felt good after my first full 90 minutes against Burnley, physically OK.
“Then it went onto the midweek cup game and I ran a lot in that, so then when it came to third game, against Stoke, that’s when I really felt it.
“But there were signs though of what I’m about in the Burnley game - I had a couple of half-chances and got into the box a bit.
“I thought I played well in that game but from a team point of view though, we weren’t quite at the races.
“Burnley wasn’t the easiest of games.
“People think it should be an easy win, but it never is.
“It was a scrappy game.
“For me, playing three games in such a short space of time, physically, was tough .
“I’m not used to that – I’m not used to one game!
“But seriously, it’s good to get all that under my belt.
“I’m happy with the progress and I know I’m getting there.”