MX23RW : Saturday, February 16 20:15:50

Jack Rodwell: 'I'm good enough for England return'

Rodwell: 'I'm good enough for England'
© Offside
Sunderland midfielder Jack Rodwell outlines his intention to add to his three England senior caps, insisting that he is good enough to play at the top level once again.

Jack Rodwell has insisted that he has "got the tools" required to return to the England senior fold as a central defender, despite struggling for playing time at Championship basement side Sunderland.

The 26-year-old is hoping to quit the Stadium of Light this month, as the Black Cats have decided to cut their losses in a bid to save money on wages.

Rodwell, a £10m arrival from Manchester City three years ago, believes that he is still capable of adding to his three England caps - the last of which he picked up in 2013 - by shifting into his defensive position of old.

"I do believe I'm a Premier League player and I do believe I'm an England international when I'm fit and on form," he told the Daily Mail. "Whether I have to take a backwards step first to prove that, I'm open to it, if that's what it takes I will do whatever to get back. Growing up through the England ranks I was captain and those three senior caps have left me wanting more.

"I still think it's well within my reach, especially at centre back. I just need a good run where I can really express myself and people say, 'Wow, Jack's back'. It was only when I was fast-tracked into the first team, they put me in midfield, it was a bit safer. I do wonder, 'What if?' If I'd just said, 'I'm a centre-back', where would I be now? The game has changed a lot.

"Centre-backs now are ball-playing and a lot of midfielders drop in there. I know the position. I'm big enough, I'm quick enough, I'm good in the air. I've got the tools. A lot is made of my injuries and yes, I've had niggles and muscle problems. Some managers haven't picked me and my form has played a part at times as well.

"But my availability has been good here, one season it was over 90%. There was a period under Sam [Allardyce] when was I playing regularly and playing well. Sadly, Sam left for England. I've never had a career-threatening injury and I'm always looking for new ways to prevent those niggles. Touch wood, that seems to be working right now."

Rodwell has been used just three times by Sunderland in all competitions this season, most recently being given a 15-minute runout against Hull City in mid-September.


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Jack Rodwell in action for Sunderland in August 2016
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