Sunderland: Adam Johnson 'can be picked' says Dick Advocaat

Dick Advocaat Sunderland
Dick Advocaat says the players must show the fans "what it means to them" to play for Sunderland

Adam Johnson "can be picked" against West Ham this weekend, according to new Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat.

The Dutchman, 67, said that "every player who trains has an opportunity to start against West Ham".

Johnson was suspended by the club after he was arrested on suspicion of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl.

But that suspension was lifted on Wednesday and the England international, 27, returned to training.

Johnson was released on police bail following his arrest on 2 March. The bail was later extended and he is due to report back to police on 23 April while the investigation continues.

At his first press pre-match press conference on Wearside, Advocaat offered his squad a clean slate and placed the onus on the players to win back the support of the fans.

"The fans need to know something is changing," he said. "We need them behind us, they can be our 12th man. We must show them what it means to us."

Sunderland slipped to 17th place in the Premier League after last week's 4-0 home defeat to Aston Villa. Fans left the Stadium of Light en masse at half-time and manager Gus Poyet was sacked on Monday.

Former Rangers boss Advocaat said: "We are now in a situation where we are playing more or less at the bottom of the league, so something has to change. I'm a coach that likes to control games. Sunderland have not done a lot of that."

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