Rodwell has struggled to hold down a first-team place since his move to Sunderland.
After scoring the opening goal in the Black Cats’ friendly loss to Pachuba, Advocaat said: “He [Rodwell] could have scored two or three. In the first 15 minutes, it was the way I know Jack from Everton. That has to continue and improve. But I can see the difference in him.”
This is certainly a promising assessment of a player who has yet to show much with Sunderland, although Advocaat wants to ensure he continues developing.
At one time, Rodwell was considered the great hope for England’s future, being a talented midfielder who was appearing regularly in the Premier League as a teenager. After progressing through Everton’s academy, he made over 100 appearances before Manchester City came calling.
Rodwell, now 24, moved to City, and managed just 25 appearances over two years, before leaving for Sunderland last summer. He played 26 times for the Black Cats, scoring three goals, but he never truly looked like the signing many thought he would be.
A lack of match practice seemed to effect him, and he spent a spell on the sidelines towards the end of the season, only being used in the first-team sparingly from when Advocaat was appointed head coach.
However, the midfielder has been granted time to impress this pre-season, and Advocaat believes he is starting to show the same kind of form he was during his time with Everton.
Yet, the trick for Rodwell is to ensure his levels do not drop again, and that he keeps progressing to not only reach the level he was at Goodison Park - but to surpass it.
If he manages to surpass this level, then Sunderland have a real player on their hands.