New Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has warned Jermain Defoe he must become more than just a goalscorer if he wants to play every week.
Allardyce was appointed Sunderland boss last week following Dick Advocaat’s departure from the club.
Sunderland are equal bottom in the Premier League table, with only goal difference keeping them above Tyneside rivals Newcastle United.
Defoe has spent the last two games on the bench for Sunderland after starting the opening six matching, and Allardyce admitted there would be limited opportunities for the striker to get back into form.
“There is always a place for a goalscorer but you cannot just be a goalscorer today so I don’t know if that’s something we need to address with Jermain,” Allardyce said.
“He came here and has not played as much as he would have liked.
“Players who don’t play generally don’t play because they drop themselves, not because you have dropped them.
“If a player has not done as much as he did at the top of his game, then you talk to the player and say: ‘Look, be careful. You are not quite playing. Is there any problem? And if you have a problem, can I resolve it for you? Is it stopping you playing as well as you have been playing because you are not quite there?'”
He added: “I tell the player: ‘There are not many opportunities for me to wait for you to come good’.
“When I played I used to say: ‘A few more games and I’ll come good,’ but here at Sunderland, we ain’t got a few more games. We have got this week to try to win the first game [at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday] and after that it becomes ever more difficult to win it if we don’t.”