Jack Rodwell could still have England future if he becomes emotionally tougher, says Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray

Jack Rodwell
Jack Rodwell

Sunderland flop Jack Rodwell's body was never suited to playing in midfield - but he could play for England again as a centre-half.

That's the view of Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray, who is trying to help Rodwell resurrect his career.

Rodwell has won three England caps.

Rodwell has won three England caps.

The 27-year-old started Blackburn's Championship clash with Bolton Wanderers last month, his first league start for the club since joining them in the summer after his lucrative contract with Sunderland was torn up.

Rodwell started just 53 games for Sunderland after his £10million move in 2014, having made just 10 starts for his previous club Manchester City.

However, Mowbray is confident he can reinvent Rodwell as a centre-half - the position he started out in his career at Everton - providing the player becomes emotionally tougher.

“To play football today you need to not only be physically robust but emotionally robust," said Mowbray. “That is what we are trying to get out of Jack here.

“Psychologically, he has to see that by training every day with real intensity. Almost all players have to play through pain at some stage.

“It is about having the confidence in your own body to believe that you can get through games, through training.

“Jack’s confidence in his body fell to zero and things just went from bad to worse for him.”

Hamstring issues and other injuries dogged Rodwell's career, and he was unable to find the form which earned him three England caps as a youngster.

Mowbray believes Blackburn could still have 'one heck of a player on our hands', however, though he admitted the full recovery process will be slow.

He told The Sun: “My idea for him is that we turn him into a centre-half as part of a back three.

“He’s a natural for that position. It will also put less stress on his body - a body we don’t think was ever suited to the strains of playing midfield.

“But if we can get him through it, we will have one heck of a player on our hands... and maybe England might again, too.”