Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has explained in the Chronicle why Jack Rodwell has been struggling with injuries this season.
Rodwell is suffering with a groin problem and the boss says his fitness has looked as though it could go either way and often depends on how he reacts to the most intense training sessions at the club.
“He’s been 50-50 for a while. He trained all of last week,” said the boss.
“He gets through the hardest part, but when it gets closer, he starts feeling it a bit more as a result of the hardest part.”
The comments are frustrating for the manager but also for the fans who will be wanting to see Rodwell stamp his authority on this Sunderland midfield.
If the Black Cats can get him back close to a state of full fitness, he will be an important player over the rest of the season as the side looks to avoid the drop.
However, it seems to depend on how he takes one training session after another. He may not be able to go all out in certain important sessions before a game and that will be a concern for the club.
If the medical staff at Sunderland can nurse him through the rest of the season, there’s a chance for him to rest and address long term injury concerns over the summer.
Where the manager will be challenged is over deciding when to subject him to the first team and when to hold him back. He has to get it right.