Has Jack Ross performed a U-turn on Jack Baldwin's Sunderland future?

Sunderland manager Jack Ross smiles during a pre-season friendly game between Darlington FC and Sunderland AFC at Blackwell Meadows on July 10, 2018 in Darlington, England.

League One rivals reportedly want to sign centre-back Jack Baldwin from Sunderland.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND 13th April  Jack Baldwin of Sunderland in action during the Sky Bet League 1 match between Sunderland and Coventry City at the Stadium Of Light, Sunderland on Saturday...

Sunderland defender Jack Baldwin is a target for a number of rival League One clubs, according to the Northern Echo. But has manager Jack Ross changed his mind about the centre-back’s future?

Earlier this week, Ross admitted to the Chronicle that Baldwin could be allowed to leave the Stadium of Light. At the time, the former Peterborough United captain had not made a single appearance in the 2019/20 campaign, failing to make the matchday squad for any of Sunderland’s League One fixtures.

But could one outstanding display have just saved Baldwin’s career on Wearside?

 

If the 26-year-old had one last chance to win Ross over, then he certainly aced his audition. Sunderland fans might have been hiding behind their sofa when Baldwin was partnered alongside the much-maligned Tom Flanagan for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup clash away at Premier League outfit Burnley.

But they needn’t have worried. Flanagan scored in an outstanding 3-1 win at Turf Moor while Baldwin produced arguably his finest display in Sunderland colours. Former striker Darren Bent described his display as ‘absolutely magnificent’ on Quest (28 August, 10:00pm).

Ross agrees.

Sunderland manager Jack Ross smiles during a pre-season friendly game between Darlington FC and Sunderland AFC at Blackwell Meadows on July 10, 2018 in Darlington, England.

“I thought Jack was terrific,” the former St Mirren boss has told the Chronicle. “Jack is another example of a player who has not had any game time but he has continued to apply himself every single day in training, and has shown the right attitude and willingness to do more work with the coaching staff.

“So for him to come into the side and produce that kind of performance is testament to his standards and commitment levels.”

This does not sound like a manager trying to push a player out of the door. It is a long, gruelling season and Baldwin has proved against top-flight opposition that he can be called upon to step up when required.

Maybe Ross has thought better of selling a potentially valuable squad member to a League One rival.

Matej Vydra of Burnley battles for possession with Jack Baldwin of Sunderland AFC during the Carabao Cup Second Round match between Burnley and Sunderland at Turf Moor on August 28, 2019...

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