26-year-old Jack Rodwell was once a huge prospect in the Premier League and was dubbed the next midfield great for England.
However, he failed to fulfil his potential for England as well as Everton and Manchester City, now in the poorest form of his career at Sunderland.
The Black Cats' new boss Simon Grayson is now encouraging the midfielder to reinvent himself at Sunderland as a centre back, the Mirror understands.
“It’s a decision we both took," he said. “I spoke to Jack early on in my time here and said to him that I needed to get him back to a level of fitness and showing the potential that he did when he made moves previously."
In an attempt to find his best position on field, Rodwell explained to Grayson that he previously played as a centre back once for Everton and England.
“He told me that, before going into the first team at Everton, he had played centre-back and also through the age groups with England.
"He felt that might be his best position because, psychologically, and maybe physically as well, his body perhaps can’t take the demands of playing in midfield anymore."
Rodwell has recently played for Sunderland's U23 team against Doncaster and Hertha Berlin this season.
“He’s still young, but sometimes these factors happen. So, after having a look at it over the last few weeks, we played him there at Doncaster and then again the other night.
“It gives us another option there and time will tell whether he might play there for the first team."
Grayson believes that despite not living up to the potential in his career, Rodwell still has time to bounce back with this change in position if he gets his fitness levels up.