Manchester City: Is Jack Rodwell Good Enough for the Premier League Champions?
Jack Rodwell's Etihad nightmare continued against Borussia Dortmund.
Heading onto the pitch for Javi Garcia, the former Everton midfielder contributed massively to City's downfall.
This was a match where Roberto Mancini's men hardly turned up. Blue shirts corrupted the pitch with individual mistakes.
Rodwell's sloppiness once again put the hosts in a troublesome position. Mancini's side didn't look comfortable throughout the entire match and appeared even more vulnerable when Garcia hobbled off in the 34th minute.
The entire City shape looked wrong when the ball fell to Rodwell in his own half.
Defenders bunched and Vincent Kompany loitered out of position. The Englishman's blind-sighted pass provided Marco Reus with a chance to put the German champions ahead. He duly delivered.
This is not the first time Rodwell's distribution has let his new club down.
He made a similar mistake against Southampton on his debut for the Premier League champions. On that occasion City's firepower saw them out of trouble.
Against Liverpool, he came on and conceded a vital free kick. Two minutes later Luis Suarez reeled away in celebration. Rodwell was also lucky not to score an incredible own goal in the recent fixture against QPR.
His statistics suggest it isn't just his passing that needs to be worked on.
In the Premier League Rodwell averages just 1.3 tackles and 0.8 interceptions every game. So far he has completed 0.3 dribbled per match in the English top flight.
Comparing the youngster to Garcia is a mismatch.
Across three Premier League appearances the Spanish midfielder has average 3.7 tackles and 1.2 interceptions. Garcia also falls victim to a lack of dribbling, a duty that is often left to Yaya Toure.
In the match with Dortmund, Rodwell failed to make a tackle or interception despite being on the field for 55 minutes. He contributed just one clearance to a shape-shifting defence that struggled all night.
Garcia made three interceptions and two clearances in considerably less time. While it's naive to compare the two players at different stages in their careers, questions over Rodwell's credentials will continue to arise if he remains a passenger on the pitch.
Is Rodwell good enough to play for the Citizens? Certainly.
The 21-year-old has excellent role models alongside him in the form of Garcia, Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry. He can learn from playing with each of these experienced professionals, especially as Mancini is keen to give him time on the pitch.
Perhaps a more poignant question is this: how many times can Rodwell afford to cost his team a goal? Mancini might be keen to let him play, but another mishap could seriously cost his side.
Rodwell's mistakes have led to two draws and a late victory.
A poor pass on the wrong day could just as easily end in defeat. Without a fortunate handball decision against Dortmund, Mancini's side would be staring Champions League elimination square in the eyes.
The next few games are vital for Rodwell.
He must do the simple things right. Nobody is expecting him to grab the headlines with match-winning performances, but many will anticipate confident and assured displays from the midfielder.
Jack Rodwell has the potential to be a star at the Etihad. But if he continues to put his team in trouble, he may never get the chance to shine.
All statistics in this article are courtesy of Whoscored.
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