Sunderland boss 'pushing new signing to the limit' - can he earn an England recall?

Jack Rodwell

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has revealed that he's pushing Jack Rodwell to the limit after joining from Manchester City this summer.

Sunderland's strong finish to last season was rewarded with a summer of reinforcements for manager Gus Poyet, as the Uruguayan brought in Costel Pantilimon, Billy Jones, Santiago Vergini, Sebastian Coates, Patrick van Aanholt, Jack Rodwell, Will Buckley, Jordi Gomez and Ricardo Alvarez all arriving at the Stadium of Light.

Whilst the arrival of Alvarez shows ambition, there's no prizes for figuring out Sunderland's marquee signing of the summer - Rodwell.

The former Everton midfielder was tipped for big things before his move to Manchester City in 2012, but having suffered a number of injuries and battled in vain for a first team place, Rodwell was plunged into obscurity throughout his time at the Etihad Stadium.

Now 23, Rodwell decided enough was enough at City, and made a £10m move to Sunderland - where Poyet says he is pushing the midfielder to the limit even after making an impressive start to life on Wearside.

"Jack is showing more confidence, running and understanding things," said Poyet. "We just need to keep pushing him to the limit. I know it’s a little bit unfair on Jordi (Gomez), I’m not stupid. But for them to have competition, Jack needs to play. How long will that continue? That depends on Jack."

It's risky to be pushing someone like Rodwell to their physical limit given his well documented injury problems, and if he suffers another injury then Poyet will be made to look very foolish. Yet, with England currently lacking an athletic defensive midfielder, Rodwell has the chance to prove his worth to manager Roy Hodgson early on in the season.

Jack Wilshere played in the holding role against Switzerland on Monday but was unspectacular, and Poyet must know that Rodwell has his best chance to break back into the England squad with positive early season form. Given his early season form, even better displays should surely put him on the cusp of a recall - as long as the extra pushing doesn't aggravate any underlying injuries.

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