Jack Rodwell will happily provide a solution at centre-half, if Sam Allardyce turns to the midfielder to ease Sunderland’s defensive fragility, writes Chris Young.
Former Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat had contemplated switching Rodwell to his boyhood position of centre-half after the 24-year-old has struggled in midfield since his £10million move from Manchester City 15 months ago.
Allardyce was wary of doing likewise prior to Sunderland’s 6-2 drubbing at Everton yesterday, yet was forced to move the England international into his central defensive trio in the second half at Goodison Park in a bid to stop the waves of pressure on the Black Cats goal.
With first-choice central defenders John O’Shea and Younes Kaboul sidelined – and both doubts for next weekend’s visit of Southampton – replacements Sebastian Coates and Wes Brown both endured miserable afternoons against the Toffees.
And Rodwell is prepared to move into central defence, if Allardyce looks to the ex-Everton man as an option after he returned from a groin injury which had ruled him out of the new manager’s first three games.
Rodwell said: “I think the manager felt like he had to change something yesterday, but the game was long gone already.
“It’s a comfortable position for me. It’s where I played as a youth team player, all the way up to England Under-21s really.
“It’s when I started playing in the first team at Everton, that I got moved into midfield.
“But it’s a position I feel comfortable in and if the manager wants me to play there, then I’m happy to do it.”
By the time Rodwell moved into defence, Sunderland’s self-inflicted wounds had already done their damage, despite the Black Cats clawing back a two-goal deficit and levelling the game at 2-2.
A rampant Everton side were able to net four times in a 21-minute spell, as Sunderland suffered a defeat after a derby win, for the fifth occasion in a row.
“You can’t defend like that in the Premier League,” added Rodwell
“We started off well, created a couple of chances and could have gone 2-0 up.
“Before you know it, we’re two down, but then got one just before half-time.
“The manager said to us to try to claw our way back to 2-2 and when we did that, it should have been it. Shut up shop.
“But we conceded three quick goals. Easy goals, as well.
“You can’t do that.
“We let ourselves down because we’d done so well to get back in the game.
“It was individual and collective mistakes.”