Rodwell: Advocaat can save us

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Published: Thursday 19th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Jack Rodwell is backing the vast experience of new head coach Dick Advocaat to drag Sunderland out of relegation trouble.

The 67-year-old Dutchman was handed the task of preserving the club’s Barclays Premier League status on Tuesday just hours after Gus Poyet’s reign on Wearside was brought to an abrupt conclusion.

Advocaat will have just nine games in which to complete his mission with the Black Cats sitting precariously a point above the drop zone, but midfielder Rodwell is confident his knowledge and background will stand him in good stead.

He told SAFSEE: “His CV speaks for itself, really. A man of his experience, it’s always good to come into, especially for young players like myself and a few of the other lads, so it’s all good. We are all raring to go.

“He has come in, he’s had a little initial meeting with us. Obviously, he’s only been here two days and I’m sure the next couple of days, he will have a lot more to say about opponents and all that.

“But he just expects us to give our 100 per cent best, as we always do, so things like that, which are standard, really.”

Advocaat’s track record is extensive and includes spells as the national manager of six different countries as well as in club football in Holland, Scotland and Russia, but rarely have his talents been needed to have such an instant impact as they do at the Stadium of Light.

He is due to meet the media for the first time on Friday before sending out his team at West Ham the following day.

In the meantime, he will have to repair the psychological damage of last Saturday’s 4-0 home defeat by Aston Villa which ultimately cost Poyet his job and engineer the kind of finish masterminded by the Uruguayan at the end of last season to complete a remarkable escape.

Advocaat will be able to call upon former England winger Adam Johnson, whose club suspension was lifted on Wednesday, as a police investigation continues following his arrest on suspicion of sexual activity with a girl under 16 earlier this month.

However, he will have to weigh up the player’s state of mind and fitness – he has been training alone at home – before he can consider using him in a game.

The first opportunity to do so will come at Upton Park, where Sam Allardyce – one of the men heavily linked with the Sunderland job on a longer-term basis – will attempt to end a run of eight games without a win in all competitions which has taken some of the gloss off a fine start to the campaign for West Ham.

Rodwell said: “It’s a massive game. Obviously, we were disappointed with the last game against Aston Villa – I think we are all a little bit hurt from that.

“But we have got to take it in a positive way for it to motivate us, because this game is crucial for us. We need three points to bounce back going into the international break.

“They [West Ham] started off flying and they have not been as good as of late, but I’m sure they’ll be wanting the three points as well to kick up the league.

“There are nine games left and I am sure everyone wants to win now, people chasing for fourth place, the Europa League, people trying to stay away from the relegation zone, so everyone is playing for points now, so it will be a massive game.

“They will want to win and so do we.”

Published: Thursday 19th March 2015 by The News Editor

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