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Rodwell receive instructions from manager, David Moyes
Given the strength of the Manchester City squad, and the fact that their championship winning team is largely intact, it would be naive to think that a 21-year-old midfielder with a troublesome injury history will walk into the starting lineup and take over.
In fact, City manager Roberto Mancini is quoted in this article from goal.com stating, "Jack Rodwell is a young player who needs to improve to play at this level."
It brings up the question of why did they sign him. Was Rodwell signed because Mancini knew he had been on Fergie's radar for Manchester United for some years and feared that they were just watching and waiting for some consistency of body before purchasing him?
Was Rodwell a "panic buy" for a club who were under pressure from their manager to bring in some fresh blood? Or, does Mancini actually see the youngster as an eventual successor to the now 31-year-old Gareth Barry in the heart of the Manchester City midfield?
One thing looks to be fairly certain for Rodwell's future with Manchester City—he could be seen as the immediate replacement for their current backup defensive midfielder, Nigel de Jong.
Since before the January 2012 transfer window, there have been rumours of a move away from the Etihad Stadium for the Dutchman. In December, crunchsports.com reported that Liverpool was in for de Jong and Real Madrid and Liverpool were ready to battle for de Jong's signature when the transfer window opened in January.
Since the end of the season, there have been reports linking de Jong to Arsenal and Liverpool (see this crunchsports.com article), and more recently, mailonline.co.uk reported that Inter Milan could be a destination for the enforcer this summer. If any of these moves happen, Rodwell would be in line to play as a backup to Barry this season. The article from crunchsports.com regarding Arsenal and Liverpool's interests also states that City could be willing to let de Jong play out his contract with them before moving for free next summer.
This would limit Rodwell's chances for the 2012-13 season.
The less viable option for Rodwell is to be the player to take over from Yaya Toure. Toure was quoted in an article with mailonline.com that he "would love to return to Barcelona" to finish his career. While his quotes were vague in terms of a timeline for departure, it has to have set alarm bells ringing for Mancini and Manchester City.
With Rodwell's ability to play both defensively and offensively, he could have been bought to be groomed as their next box-to-box general.
Personally, I see Rodwell consigned to the bench or possibly to loan moves, next season and slowly being brought in to replace Barry as his career starts to slow down. What do you think?