JACK RODWELL is prepared to bide his time as he bids for only his second Premier League start of the season at Sunderland on Monday.
Everton's talented young midfielder limped off injured at Aston Villa in August and has been recuperating from an ankle injury ever since.
But after an ahead of schedule substitute appearance against Arsenal last Sunday Rodwell got another 66 minutes under his belt for England under-21s in midweek, a run-out in which he had to work even harder with England reduced to 10-men early in the second half in Germany.
'The legs felt a bit tired in the end, as I've been out for nine weeks injured,' he said.
'But it was good to get back out on the pitch with the Under-21s and I'm happy.
'It was tough when we went down to 10 men, but we dug in and it was an okay performance in the end, but we know we can do better.
'It was a young squad with new faces, so it's a learning curve for us and we're just preparing for the Championships now.'
Rodwell is likely to be on the substitutes' bench again on Monday night at the Stadium of Light, with John Heitinga continuing in the midfield holding role.