Manchester City: 5 Reasons Jack Rodwell's Best Days Are Behind Him at City
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It wasn't supposed to be like this.
At the conclusion of the last summer transfer window, Maicon and Matija Nastasic were brought on to shore up the back line. Javi Garcia was thought to be the most accomplished player City acquired.
Rodwell came to the Etihad with a reputation as a sound positional defensive midfielder with strong tackling skills and a bit of toughness as well.
Having spent a reported 15 million pounds on him, though, City has seen Rodwell make eight Premier League appearances to little effect.
You say it's too soon to write him off. Maybe.
But consider the evidence.
Careful not to overextend, Jack.
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Even back in January, Roberto Mancini was vocally concerned about Rodwell's propensity to pull up lame, per The Guardian.
"I'm worried because when we bought him we thought that he was a good player and then he has these problems with his hamstrings. We hope we can improve this situation for him because he's young, he's got quality, he has everything to have a good career," said Mancini.
Smash-cut to this week, and little has changed other than the calendar.
“I think it is impossible to resolve his problem after six or seven months because he’s had this problem for five or six years and we need maybe more time," said Mancini after Rodwell limped off against Aston Villa, per The Sun.
Age Is No Excuse
Youth has not held Nastasic back.
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"But Rodwell just turned 22, give him time."
Professional football is not that sort of business, particularly for a club like Manchester City.
Matija Nastasic, who will turn 20 at the end of the month, is probably City's best defender not named Pablo Zabaleta.
You heard me, Vincent Kompany.
So Rodwell's relative youth is no excuse for his shortcomings and does not suggest or promise that City's investment in him will ever pay off.
If Rodwell had "it," City fans should have seen it by now.
Failure to Launch
It all started to go wrong for Rodwell in this contest.
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Truth be told, even the limited time Rodwell has played for City has been poor.
His giveaway in his own half against Southampton—in the first league match of the season—was followed quickly by a Steven Davis tally that put the visiting Saints ahead.
Then, against Liverpool at Anfield, Rodwell was whistled—harshly it should be noted—for handball just outside Liverpool's attack zone. Moments later, Luis Suarez converted the resulting free kick.
Two games, two goals at least partially attributable to Rodwell's play.
After that, Mancini seemed to lose faith in Rodwell. Then Rodwell started missing time due to injury.
So far, it has been a City career that never was for Rodwell.
No Need to Wait
For City, there are always other fish in the sea.
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For many clubs, a £15 million investment in a young midfielder would necessitate patience and careful cultivation.
For Manchester City, which bombed embarrassingly out of the Champions League and which has slim-to-no chance of catching Manchester United for the Premier League crown, the future is always now.
If Rodwell cannot get healthy between now and May AND show City that he can play for them at a high level, City really cannot afford to wait for him beyond that.
Would Marouane Fellaini leave Everton? Apparently if the price is right, according to the Daily Express.
Truth is, when your pockets bulge like City's do, the next big-money transfer is always a pen stroke away.
A Reminder of What Could (Should) Have Been
The guy on the right is where all the money should have gone.
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Did you ever have to choose between two things and make the wrong choice? For example, did you ever really want a sports car, but let yourself get talked into a sedan?
A funny thing happens when you make that sort of decision. Every time you see the sports car, you get angrier and angrier about the sedan you bought.
Particularly, in this analogy, where the sedan doesn't run at all.
Rodwell, Javi Garcia and Scott Sinclair cost City approximately £36 million at the summer transfer window.
For two-thirds of that money, Robin van Persie could be leading the Premier League in goals for City instead of probable league champions United.
Don't think Roberto Mancini doesn't know it.