Former Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat claims Jack Rodwell has the potential to make an impact in Serie A as rumours of a surprise switch to Roma surface.

The 28-year-old is a free agent after being released from Blackburn Rovers at the end of last season and, with Roma suffering from midfield injuries, he could join compatriot Chris Smalling in the Italian capital with speculation a medical could happen this weekend.

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Rodwell earned a move to Manchester City in 2012, having come through Everton's youth ranks, but injuries have impacted the Englishman's career to date.

The Englishman would later spend five years at Sunderland, working under Advocaat during his brief spell as manager and the Dutchman says he's not surprised by Roma's interest in Rodwell.

"He was one of the brightest prospects in English football and this is confirmed by the fact he was signed by Manchester City," he said to Teleradiostereo.

"After that, several injuries held back his growth but he's a player who, if fit, can show his full potential.

"I was at the helm of Sunderland for only a few months, but he's undoubtedly an excellent player and I don't think he will struggle to adapt in Italy. He has the potential to do well in Serie A.

"His heavy contract slowed him down a bit, but he can be an important player again."