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True, this could initially seem harsh, but a reason for Rodwell being included here is simply because his career has been one meteoric rise thus far, apart from in 2011. This past season was possibly the only year in his career that he did not turn heads.
In truth he had an ordinary season, not awful, but beset by injury. Yet as several of his peers are now making that big step up to top teams and also the international arena (Jordan Henderson, Phil Jones, and Jack Wilshere), questions are being asked about why Rodwell appears a little left behind his peers.
Rodwell is another graduate from Everton’s prestigious academy. He bulldozed his way through Everton’s ranks in a similar manner to Wayne Rooney, appearing for the Under-18s at 14, the Reserves at 15 and in Europe for the senior side at 16, the youngest player to appear for Everton in Europe.
Originally a central defender at youth level, Rodwell was first deployed by David Moyes as a defensive midfielder. However, with Marouane Fellaini, Johnny Heitinga and Phil Neville all capable of plugging that defensive midfielder’s berth, Rodwell began featuring further forward for Everton.
His ability to score in this role also became apparent, thanks to two sumptuous strikes against Sigma Olomouc in the Europa League. In 2010 he finished the season with four goals, including a headline grabbing winner against Manchester United and was named Everton‘s Young Player of the Year .
However, as many looked on, expecting 2011 to be the year Rodwell fully flourished, and possibly even gained an England cap, he ended the season out of Everton’s team, and even out of recent England Under-21 lineups. He has been honest and open about his frustrating form this season and is eager to amend the situation.
As well as injury, his role in Everton’s team may be a reason for this stuttering season. Mikel Arteta and Marouane Fellaini are two players capable of filling most team’s central midfield positions, it is one of the few areas Everton have a glut of options. Occasionally Rodwell has even ventured out to the flanks, loyally doing a job for David Moyes, but has certainly not seemed natural in this position. In 2012 he needs to find more of an identity with the team and own a position.
Rodwell has been a constant feature in transfer gossip columns since his emergence. However, whilst a couple of years ago, teams were quoting £30 million to ply him away, some newspapers now link him away for measly sub £20 million fees. A sign of how his year was indeed a tad idle.
This may all prove a blessing in disguise for Everton fans, many of whom may be pleased at this dip in form. Premier League teams are currently bidding for other players instead. Although his departure is always an extorted bid away, clubs would surely want to see another prosperous season before committing financially to the youngster.
Rodwell needs an impressive 2012 to confirm his status as one of the brightest young talents in the English game. So much has been talked of his potential that next season he must begin to realise it. If Rodwell does stay at Everton this summer, predict 2012 to be a stellar year for him. Based on averages, last year was arguably the only year he has ever stagnated. Expect a huge backlash.