Poyet had to play Santiago Vergini and Anthony Reveillere as full-backs in the Black Cats last game against West Bromwich Albion because of the threat posed from set-pieces by Tony Pulis’ side, and he feels that his troops lack physicality.
Rodwell is a powerful presence, but elsewhere the team are made up of less imposing players and Poyet admits that it is a weakness in the ranks.
“Not having Jack Rodwell, we were quite small as a team and the main thing from West Brom is set plays," he said. "They scored two goals from two corners against Burnley.
“With Patrick and Anthony, we were very small."
Despite Rodwell's obvious power, he has been unable to live up to expectations during his time at the Stadium of Light.
When the England international was purchased from Manchester City there was great excitement on Wearside about his arrival, but he has struggled to produce his best.
Rodwell was once a destructive presence at Everton but he hasn't added drive or pace to Sunderland's midfield, with his performances largely mediocre.
It means that the pressure is already starting to build on the 23-year-old and he faces a tough task to win Sunderland supporters around in the future.