“People have said many times that Jack is going to be a centre-half, but not at the moment. He has great ability to score, and he should have found the net against Sweden. He has energy and athleticism, which allow him to get into the box and join in.” David Moyes on Jack Rodwell, 2011
One of Manchester City’s lost boys of English football was finally released from Etihad cold-storage this week, as former Everton youth Jack Rodwell completed a move to Sunderland for a fee believed to be in the region of £10m.
The 23-year-old midfield anchor made just 26 appearances in 24 injury-ravaged months with the Citizens and has clearly been deemed surplus to requirements by coach Manuel Pellegrini after Fernando’s purchase from Porto.
Rodwell was clearly a highly-regarded member of England’s youth setup during his time at Goodison Park, with the Stockport native appearing 38 times combined for the Three Lions’ junior side’s from the ages of 15-21.
Roy Hodgson’s predecessor Fabio Capello clearly liked the cut of his jib, having handed Rodwell his senior international debut off the bench in a friendly defeat to Spain in November 2011, before giving him a first international start a few days later against Sweden.
Hodgson has thrown him in once since taking over, 14 months ago in the 2-2 draw with Brazil, and bwin.com go 2/5 that Rodwell will gain another cap by the start of June next year.
The demise of England’s defensive spine over the past half-decade makes this an absolute must-bet situation.
As old gaffer Moyes indicated, Rodwell has great versatility and knows where the goal is, having notched eight times in 109 all-competition appearances for the Merseyside Blues and twice for City against Norwich in their final game of the 2012/13 campaign.
However, England went to the World Cup without a holding-midfielder and relied on captain Steven Gerrard to fulfil a role he has never excelled at, particularly at international level.
Their centre-half stocks are also badly depleted, with Gary Cahill currently the only player in the position seemingly assured of keeping his place in the XI ahead of Euro 2014 in France.
Players of the calibre of Rodwell, who has now moved clubs for combined fees of £25m in his short career and has a wealth of Premier League and European experience, will be vital for the 66-year-old’s England rebuild going into the next qualification campaign.
It’s fair to assume that Rodwell is merely a moderate run of good games away from regaining his spot in the setup, and if he has shaken off the hamstring problems that saw him ruled out for 32 games during two years at City – which his Sunderland move suggests is the case – then Hodgson will be compelled to pick him.