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Manchester City: Jack Rodwell Is the Wrong Scapegoat for City Fans

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentAugust 13, 2016

Manchester City: Jack Rodwell Is the Wrong Scapegoat for City Fans

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    Manchester City's 21-year-old English midfielder, Jack Rodwell, has experienced a rough start since his £15 million move from Everton

    The former Toffee midfielder’s recent mistakes against Southampton and Borussia Dortmund have made him fodder for criticism.

    This article will argue that he is the wrong scapegoat for City fans. 

Jack Rodwell, the Faulty Autopilot

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    People who say Jack Rodwell is a bad passer are dead wrong.

    In the last three seasons, he has completed 87.6, 82.8 and 80.5 percent of his passes in league play.

    This season, he has a 92 percent pass-completion percentage in the Premier League.

    The problem isn't his passing, it's his concentration levels diminishing as the game progresses. 

    Since he's required to not make a mistake, he's limited himself to very simple passes and consequently he drifts into autopilot mode. 

    The two players who read Rodwell like a book were Southampton's Adam Lallana and Marco Reus from Borussia Dortmund. 

    What do both players have in common? They're high-IQ footballers who defy the stereotype of attacking players not being able to win back possession. 

    Reus works very hard without the ball and Lallana is one of the most underrated players in world football right now.

    The Southampton midfielder has excellent vision, can play out wide or centrally and reads the play expertly to intercept 3.7 passes per game. 

    In case you don't know what I'm talking about, here's Rodwell's misplaced pass against the Saints and BVB

    It's not the first time Rodwell has been caught out in autopilot mode, either. As the cliché goes, old habits die hard.

    A few years ago, in preseason, Rodwell attempted to control the ball without even checking who was lurking behind him.

    It was the great Ariel Ortega, who won the ball, accelerated past Joleon Lescott and effortlessly clipped the ball over Carlo Nash to score one of the best chipped goals you'll ever see.

    During a 2-1 Europa League win over Sporting Lisbon in 2010, Rodwell sold Sylvain Distin short with an over-hit pass, which led to the Frenchman's dismissal for pulling down striker Liédson. The Brazilian had predicted that Rodwell would pass it backwards.

    Fans must understand that a club of Manchester City's resources would have every professional game Rodwell has played on tape. Roberto Mancini's staff surely would have picked up that Rodwell goes into la la land from time to time. 

    Mancini was out of his mind to throw Rodwell into a game against Dortmund—a team filled with smart, industrious and technically gifted footballers. 

Jack Rodwell Is a Tweener

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    When Christian Negouai used to somehow get game time for Manchester City, the only thing he could offer to his teammates was to try to not make mistakes.

    Did Kevin Keegan really think an eccentric, undisciplined and limited footballer like Negouai wouldn't be exposed?   

    Jack Rodwell is nowhere near as bad as Negouai, but the Englishman is a classic example of a tweener in that he isn't a ball-winning defensive midfielder nor is he a deep-lying playmaker. 

     

    League Only (Rodwell) 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
    Tackles Per Game 1.6 1.1 1.3 1
    Tackles Per Foul 2.5 1.4 2.6 1.7
    Interceptions Per Game 0.8 0.3 1.2 0.6

     

    Liverpool's pocket rocket, Raheem Sterling, averages 2.5 tackles per game and is a better ball-winner than the 6'2" and physically impressive Rodwell.

    What does Roberto Mancini see in Rodwell? 

Why You Should Give Jack Rodwell a Pass

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    Don't blame Jack Rodwell. Blame Roberto Mancini for putting Rodwell into a tough situation. 

    With Javi García suffering a knock after 34 minutes against Borussia Dortmund, Mancini had to choose between Rodwell and James Milner.

    Rodwell is a tweener as a defensive midfielder. He's an inexperienced youngster burdened with an inflated transfer fee. Not to mention, his confidence is low after a shaky start. 

    Milner is the more experienced player and will generally give you a 6.5/10 performance. 

    Mancini went left-field by selecting Rodwell. By the end of the game, the former Everton midfielder had registered another error. 

    Oh, and when the Englishman does make a routine play—like sliding in for the ball against Liverpool—he somehow handles it. He must have put his new Adidas Predator Absolado LZ TRX FG boots on the table before the game. 

    What were the chances that Luis Suárez, who had shot blind against West Bromwich Albion the week before, would curl the free kick past Joe Hart?

    Pretty low, but it happened, and that goal helped the Uruguayan out of a shooting slump. Conversely, the handball call sums up Rodwell's miserable start for City. 

    Comment below with your opinion of Rodwell. 

     

    Please read How Inter's Gamble on Cassano Is Paying off in Spades

    Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com



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