Emanuele Giaccherini and Jack Rodwell key for Sunderland, says Michael Proctor

The former midfielder also says that Jermain Defoe will be of importance to Dick Advocaat's side.

Former Sunderland midfielder Michael Proctor has told the club’s official website that Emanuele Giaccherini and Jack Rodwell will be key next season.

The Black Cats will be under the guidance of Dick Advocaat full time next season after the veteran boss managed to steer them clear of relegation towards the end of last season.

While there are likely to be several new faces at the Stadium of Light in the summer, Proctor believes that the two midfielders currently at the club will be key, while supplying Jermain Defoe with chances will ensure them goals.

“Getting a fully fit Giaccherini back will be like making a new signing,” he told safc.com. “He barely played last season and he’s a top, top international player.

"Jack Rodwell had a tough season but again we know what he can be capable of. For me, one of Dick Advocaat’s biggest challenges is to get the best out of him next year. If we create chances, Jermaine Defoe will score goals.”

Two vital Englishmen

The three players mentioned by Proctor are certainly likely to prove vital to Sunderland’s Premier League hopes next season, although the English duo are of particular importance.

Rodwell is still yet to fully live up to the promise he showed at Everton, with both injuries and a lack of game time hampering his development significantly.

Should Advocaat be able to get him fit, the quality is there and will definitely make a difference to the Black Cats' midfield.

Defoe, on the other hand, is the side’s only prove goalscorer, meaning the pressure is certainly on him to provide regularly should they be aiming to avoid a relegation battle next season.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch