Manchester City

Injuries Cost England's Jack Rodwell at Manchester City, Not His Nationality

Manchester City's Jack Rodwell, centre, vies for the ball with Newcastle United's Mike Williamson, left, during their English League Cup soccer match at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scott Heppell/Associated Press
Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterAugust 9, 2014

New Sunderland midfielder Jack Rodwell signed off his Manchester City career with a piece of advice aimed at youngsters considering a move to the Etihad Stadium club.

Simon Bird of the Daily Mirror was among those to report the former Everton man telling young English talent to avoid signing for City.

When asked for his advice to young players being pursued by Manchester City, Rodwell was quoted as saying:

I would ­probably say don’t sign now, I’d say get as much football as you can.

The first thing I’d ask is, ‘How good are you?’ You just never knowyou could go there, do really well and be winning league titles and everything.

But just because you’re English and young it doesn’t mean you’re not going to play for Manchester City.

I would just say weigh up your options and ask yourself if you want to be playing regularly.

Rodwell arrived at the Etihad Stadium from Everton in August 2012, as then-City manager Roberto Mancini bolstered his squad in preparation for their Premier League title defence.

The midfielder, who was then 21, cost City in the region of £12 million, according to BBC Sport, signing a five-year deal.

It was a big statement of intent by both Mancini and City, with Rodwell representing the cream of young English talent in the top flight breaking into the international arena.

But Rodwell was arriving at the Etihad on the back of a recurring hamstring injury, which had ruled him out of Euro 2012 and the Olympic Games.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

The warning signs were there for City but Mancini pushed ahead, convinced in the ability and potential of the midfielder.

It would not be long before his injury woes would dampen the early enthusiasm for both Rodwell and City, and the midfielder found himself sidelined for almost four months.

Another two-month injury absence later in the 2012-13 Premier League campaign further added to the frustrations of all involved. 

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17:  New Manchester City player Jack Rodwell (R) and manager manager Roberto Mancini pose for a photograph at the MCFC Carrington Training Complex on August 17, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)
Paul Thomas/Getty Images

When Mancini was sacked after the disappointing FA Cup final defeat to Wigan Athletic, Manuel Pellegrini stepped in and brought his own views on City's midfield with him.

Rodwell was left out in the cold as Fernandinho proved to be an astute addition by the new manager.

The new Sunderland signing claimed that his lack of first-team opportunities last season prevented him making the England squad for the World Cup finals in Brazil.

Rodwell is quoted by BBC Sport as saying:

If I'd been playing regularly for the last two years, I probably would have been [at the World Cup].

Last season, over the course of the whole season, I was injured for about three weeks. I was fit and available for 47 of the 57 games.

That might surprise quite a lot of people because they probably didn't see my name on the team sheet and just assumed I must be injured.

Rodwell had been played from the start in his first season at the Etihad, which makes his advice to young players somewhat disheartening.

It is true that City have a strong imported element in their first XI, though few supporters would argue with the success that policy has generated.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01:  New signing Scott Sinclair of Manchester City watches from the bench during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers at Etihad Stadium on September 1, 2012 in Manchester, Englan
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It is also true that players such as Scott Sinclair have previously been brought to City for big money, only to find themselves confined to a peripheral role. 

But there are other Englishmen who have made their mark at the club, notably Joe Hart and James Milner.

There is a balance to be made at City and Rodwell has a point in advising youngsters to keep their eyes open when it comes to transfers and is right to highlight that being young and English will not preclude a player from selection at the Etihad.

However, Rodwell was denied his chance at Manchester City by the injuries he suffered during his first season at the clubnot a skewed selection policy.

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