The two struggling Sunderland stars Poyet needs to build his team around

Gus Poyet

Sunderland have one of the oldest squads in the Premier League.

Sunderland's ageing squad means that they must ensure they build their tactics around Connor Wickham and Jack Rodwell next season.

Wickham and Rodwell have been two Black Cats players to have badly under-performed this campaign, but supporters of the side need to ensure that they are patient with the pair because they are two of their brighter prospects.

Sunderland have experience throughout their side, with the average age of their team among the highest in the Premier League, and Gus Poyet should be making Wickham and Rodwell central figures as a result. 

There is no longevity which can be achieved by planning around the likes of John O'Shea, Jermain Defoe or Wes Brown at this stage of their careers, but by putting greater faith in Wickham and Rodwell they may just be able to draw out their obvious potential.

Wickham has been used sparingly in his favoured position this campaign, with Poyet tending to utilise him out wide, while Rodwell has struggled to find a consistent place in the North East outfit's starting line-up.

This, in part, is due to their form. It would be wrong to suggest that the Sunderland duo have been among the side's better performers, as they have actually struggled throughout the campaign.

However, they need to be trusted to improve, and Poyet should be looking to build his team around them next season.

That means that Wickham should be given a central role up-front, with Rodwell a permanent inclusion in the team.

Wickham has already shown how deadly he can be when he hits form, with his goals at the back end of last season a major reason that Sunderland stayed up.

Rodwell, meanwhile, has not played regular football for some time, with fitness issues holding him back, but he looked to have the potential to be a star when at Everton earlier in his career.

It is up to Sunderland to give them the platform to reach these standards again and Poyet must make that his main priority - providing he sees the club to safety this term. 

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