Rodwell has failed to produce his best football in a Black Cats shirt following his transfer from Manchester City over the summer.
Signing for a £10 million fee from the Etihad club, the 23-year-old midfielder has looked far off match fitness having made just seven Premier League starts in his two years with City. Although he netted against Manchester United on just his second start for Poyet’s side, he has managed just two full 90 minute spells on the pitch, and was left on the bench for the Black Cats last three fixtures.
Since Rodwell turned out in the 4-1 defeat to his former club City, Poyet has favoured fellow summer signing Jordi Gomez in midfield, and has been rewarded by one win and two draws in the three games since. Gomez has brought a classy stability to the middle of the park absent with Rodwell’s inclusion, and it is hard to see why the Uruguayan coach would choose to break up his side that have performed so well in the last few weeks.
And it is this run of good performances that is keeping Rodwell out the side, rather than anything negatively shown by the player.
Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, Poyet admitted that he wants to play the former Everton youngster, but he has to be assured that he will perform at the same level as his current midfield choices.
“I’m trying to play Jack, but it’s difficult,” the former Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder said.
“The problem is not Jack, it’s Lee [Cattermole], Seb [Larsson] and Jordi [Gomez].
“The day that Jack steps in, he needs to be at that level or better to give me a problem to pick the team for the next game.
“It’s very easy to say ‘he doesn’t play him, he doesn’t like him’.
“That’s not the case.”
Thankfully for Rodwell, the intense run of fixtures over the festive period could see him break back into the first-team fold, and a strong run of form will be the perfect way to stake a starting claim for the turn of the year.