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Ex-Prem star refuses to play for Sunderland and pulls out of squad | Football | Sport

“With every player, there’s questions about whether they will be staying or going in every window because we’ve got top players. From Alex’s perspective, we’ve made the decision more recently to offer him an extension to his contract. We wouldn’t normally do that because we’d normally do that as part of our succession planning somewhere around March or April time.

“But we just felt that in conversations with him, that was something we probably needed to do because of the situation and where his head was at more than anything. I think that’s the right thing for the football club to do, and he is in a really good position. He’s in the team, and I’m sure he’s happy.”

But Pritchard remains in a contract stand-off with Sunderland and has taken the unusual approach of taking himself out of contention to play on Saturday, with his sights now firmly set on a January exit.

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