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26th Apr 2018

Chris Coleman’s revelation about Jack Rodwell sums up Sunderland mess

What a mess

Robert Redmond

Sunderland’s relegation from the Championship to League One was confirmed last week.

The Black Cats became the third team to suffer two relegations from the Premier League to the third flight within two seasons, after Swindon Town and Wolves, and the road back to the top will be a long one. The club is heavily in debt, the first-team have barely won a match in the last two years and attendances at the Stadium of Light have understandably dropped.

Sunderland owner Ellis Short has been trying to sell the club for the last few years but still hasn’t found a buyer. Unfortunately, the six-time English champions may not have reached rock-bottom just yet.

The club is in a sorry state and the case of Jack Rodwell sums up the mess they are currently in. The former Everton and Manchester City midfielder reportedly earns £70,000-a-week but has only made three appearances for Sunderland this season. He didn’t have a clause in his contract that cut his wage when the club dropped into the Championship, which is a common feature of most contracts in the bottom-half of the Premier League.

Rodwell has made Sunderland suffer for this blunder. In January, he reportedly refused their offer to rip up his contract, which expires in 2019, and has been training away from the first-team. The former England midfielder will see his wage drop to £43,000-a-week in League One next year. Needless to say, he will still be the highest-paid player in the division, where the average wage is around £2,500-a-week.

Sunderland made a lot of mistakes in the past few years – an awful lot – but spending £10m on Rodwell in 2014, and giving him a five-year deal, worth around £3.6m-a-year, must be near the top of their extremely long list of blunders.

The situation has become so farcical that Black Cats manager Chris Coleman has admitted that he doesn’t even know where Rodwell is. The former Wales manager told reporters on Thursday that the 27-year-old midfielder won’t be involved in Sunderland’s game against Fulham this weekend. Coleman clarified later in the press conference that he knows where Rodwell is physically but rather isn’t sure where the player is mentally. Either way, he’ll probably never kick a ball for Sunderland again.

It feels like a very long time ago when Rodwell was one of the brightest talents in English football, and Coleman was Wales manager as the country reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016.