Jack Rodwell IS an option for Sunderland at centre-half after Dick Advocaat admits he has the considered the possibility.
Sunderland’s defensive vulnerability continues to dog their attempts at progress, with Advocaat’s men conceding 17 goals in the first half alone during their eight outings in all competitions this season after Wednesday’s 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City.
He is what I am looking for in terms of giving the ball to his team-matesDick Advocaat
Younes Kaboul will return from suspension for Saturday’s trip to Manchester United and is likely to go straight back into the starting XI at the expense of fellow centre-half Sebastian Coates.
But with Sunderland still without a clean sheet this season, some supporters have broached the possibility of moving Rodwell into defence, with the £10million man continuing to be an inconsistent figure in central midfield.
Rodwell has played at centre-half in his younger years and Advocaat says it is something that has crossed his mind.
Advocaat said: “It was something I thought about last season when he was not in the team.
“In principle, he is a centre-half in origin. He is good in the air, he has got two good feet.
“Football-wise and passing-wise, he is what I am looking for in terms of giving the ball to his team-mates.
“We have too many players who just kick the ball away.
“That was why I was so keen to get (summer transfer target, Nicolas) Lombaerts who can start things off at the back.”
Kaboul and John O’Shea appear to be Advocaat’s first-choice central defensive pairing for now, with Coates struggling to rekindle the form from the end of last season which persuaded Sunderland to shell out £2m to bring the Uruguayan back to the Stadium of Light from Liverpool.
Veteran Wes Brown is the only other option, but the ex-Manchester United man is yet to appear this season, with Advocaat declaring that the 35-year-old is merely a back-up.
Rodwell, recalled to the starting XI against his former club in the midweek Capital One Cup defeat, may well lose his place in midfield for this weekend’s clash at Old Trafford too.
The 24-year-old was withdrawn at the interval against Man City, with Advocaat pleased with the contribution of replacement Lee Cattermole.
Advocaat added: “Lee did well when he came on. You see the sharpness when he is there and plays a simple game. That helps.”