Sunderland midfielder Jack Rodwell has been urged by boss Dick Advocaat to add some aggression to his play in order to help the team start picking up some points.
The 24-year-old midfielder, who has three England caps to his name, joined the club last summer from Manchester City on a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £10 million.
However, Rodwell only managed 23 Premier League appearances last term as the Black Cats had to scrap for survival in the final week of the campaign.
He has featured in two league games and also scored twice in a 6-3 Capital One Cup win against Exeter so far, but is not yet a guaranteed starter in Advocaat’s plans as Seb Larsson and Lee Cattermole are also fighting it out to partner French international Yann M’Vila in the middle.
And the Dutch tactician has told Rodwell he will need to add a nasty streak to his play if he is going to become an integral part of his team.
Advocaat told the Sunderland Echo: “I think Rodwell can do even better, even though the Swansea game was the best game I have seen from him.
“He can play much better aggression-wise, second ball-wise and interaction during the game.
“In principle, he is a player that can use his right and left foot, but the aggression is part of it too.
“If you can’t do that in the top league, then you have no chance.”
Sunderland return to action against Tottenham at the Stadium of Light on Sunday and are 4.00 to win, while Spurs are 1.91 and the draw is 3.50.