Jack Rodwell’s return to Premier League football will have to be carefully managed, according to Gustavo Poyet.
Although the £10m midfielder bridles at suggestions he was injury-prone at Manchester City, the fact remains he has joined Sunderland with little recent football to fall back on.
In two seasons at Eastlands, the England international (pictured below) started just ten games, although that had a lot to do with the competition for places too.
He lasted 60 minutes on his competitive Sunderland debut, at West Bromwich Albion.
“I can tell you this week he has been much better,” Poyet said of the Merseysider’s performances in training this week.
“In the first half in West Brom, we didn’t help him. The game we played was terrible. He couldn’t get into the game.
“I think everybody reacted in the second half and he was much better.
“I took him off when he was starting to influence the game, you can blame me. It’s another thing we need to look at.
“Now we are playing Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday. Whatever decision I make, some people are not going to be happy, depending on the outcome. If we win (at Birmingham City in the League Cup) and nothing happens (to Rodwell), it will be fantastic. If Jack gets injured, it will be my responsibility.
“If I don’t pick him and we lose, I will be terrible.
“It is a decision I need to make and I am responsible for good or for bad. I need to manage with him – but me in particular – how long he can play and know it is important not to force him too much, but that will depend on the game and how he is playing.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Alfred N’Diaye has completed his long-anticipated move to Real Betis, signing a five-year contract with the Second Division Spanish club.
Defender Scott Harrison has joined Hartlepool United on loan for a second time. The former Darlington product made six appearances for the Teessiders last season.