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Zenden ready and willing to answer the Sunderland call

Sunderland midfielder Boudewijn Zenden insists he is determined to play a part in Steve Bruce's first-team plans at the Stadium of Light. The 34-year-old Netherlands international started Tuesday's 2-0 win over Colchester in the League Cup.

"I'm not training all week to watch the game on the weekend, I'm training to be ready," Zenden told BBC Newcastle.

"If you can pose a problem for the manager even better as he's the one who decides in the end."

Zenden triggered a one-year extension to his deal at Sunderland during the summer, having featured in the required 50% of matches between January and the end of last season.

And while Zenden is happy to be seen as a role model, the desire to continue his playing career remains just as fierce as it did during his formative years at hometown club MVV Maastricht.

"I'm not happy to sit on the bench and fulfil a role helping the kids," Zenden continued.

"It's good to be training, but it's most important to play games because that's where the joy comes from.

"Even when you're on the pitch you can help and sort things out, and it's not for nothing that I'm club captain this year also.

"Most of all, what counts is getting games, being on the pitch and being important there."

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