Has Rodwell made a mistake signing for Man City?
Jack Rodwell is only 21. He’s an England international, physically imposing and impressively versatile. So why is his £15m transfer from Everton to Manchester City regarded as such a surprising gamble?
The challenge facing one of Everton’s favourite sons says everything about the state of modern football. He has been bought for the future by Man City, with Uefa’s financial fair-play policy in mind.
Roberto Mancini did not bother to maintain the pretence that Rodwell will be a central character in Man City’s defence of the Premier League title this season. He was in a graceless mood on Sunday, despite victory in the Community Shield.
There was little need for him to be so dismissive of Everton’s stature, suggesting “it will be the first time he [Rodwell] will be in a club that plays to win”. Such comments add to the impression that Mancini has an unhealthy sense of entitlement.
To be fair, Mancini is far from being the only manager who has the mentality of a lottery winner let loose in a Bentley showroom. He wants it all and he wants it now. The size of the bill is supremely irrelevant.
The Italian’s insistence that his achievements deserve greater leeway in a transfer market that has generated more heat than light this summer has highlighted the precarious nature of his relationship with Brian Marwood, Man City’s football administrator.
He is already agitating for further recruits, most notably the Liverpool defender Daniel Agger, the Swansea winger Scott Sinclair and Javi Martínez, one of the pivotal figures in Athletic Bilbao’s emergence. Mancini foresees the Spaniard playing a defensive midfield role.
That job would suit Rodwell’s crisp tackling, clever positioning and simple, accurate passing. His career might have stagnated a little over the past two seasons – good judges at Goodison suggest Ross Barkley may have the greater long-term potential – but it is difficult to see how he will develop as a member of Man City’s supporting cast.
Rodwell joined Everton at seven, played for the reserves at 15 and made his first-team debut a year later. Intriguingly, there are suggestions on Merseyside that he was not all that keen to move. I don’t blame him. There’s a real danger he could be gathering dust on the shelf.
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