Jack Rodwell has opened up on his time at Sunderland after four years at the Stadium of Light turned into a nightmare.
Rodwell signed for Sunderland in 2014 for £10 million from Manchester City but left after spending four years on Wearside – he only ended up featuring in 67 league matches in that period.
He was painted as a villain as Netflix camera crews followed the players around in the 2017/18 season for the ‘Sunderland ‘Til I Die’ documentary.
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Rodwell was offered the chance to walk out on his then-lucrative contract with Sunderland in the summer of 2017 having being recently relegated to the Championship, but it was an offer he refused.
It’s a decision he stands by, telling The Athletic: “You work your whole life and you make sacrifices; you don’t go out, you don’t see your mates, you don’t go out at the weekend.
“You train hard to get to a point to financially support your family. I don’t want my little boy to struggle.
“I don’t want my parents to struggle. Then for someone to say, ‘No, throw it all away’ you know, it’s hard.”
Rodwell wasn’t the only player on a big contract, as he went onto explain: “There were other players on big money as well.
“But not only that, if they’d gone about it in the right way, if they’d treated me well, then you know…but to do what they did, then ask me to just forget my deal and go. It was a kick in the teeth.”
The midfielder eventually did terminate his contract with Sunderland following their relegation to League One in 2018 as he had one year remaining and was set to be on £43,000 per week.
Rodwell was perhaps unfairly cast as a villain in the documentary as he is right in saying there were other players also on big contracts.
As well as that, injuries weren’t kind to the former Everton and Manchester City midfielder as he struggled to overcome several long-term knocks.
The Rodwell transfer in its entirety optimises everything that went wrong for Sunderland in the mid-2010s.
They overpaid for players who couldn’t deliver and it should always serve as a reminder to them that they cannot venture down that path again.