So, finally ManchesterCity have entered the transfer market. Better late than never but certainly later than most people, including manager Roberto Mancini, predicted.
Their first signing a week ahead of the start of the Premier League season is former
Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell. Not the house hold name many were expecting, that may well come, but nevertheless a fine young English midfielder who many have tipped for a big future.
So what an earth is he doing at City? The club that has brought the Premier League. The club that have on their books some of the world’s finest players, many of whom that struggle to maintain a regular place in the team.
The right club for a young player hoping to establish himself at the elite end of English football? Excuse my pessimism.
Jack Rodwell is a prime example of what a youth system can offer. He joined Everton at the age of seven, made his youth team debut when he was just 14 and first team debut aged 16. The defensive midfielder rose through the ranks quicker than any other player has done at the Merseyside club and with that came a healthy air of expectation. Rodwell has represented England at every level and along with the likes of Wilshere and Cleverly, he looks set to be apart of England’s next midfield generation.
In the last five years he has established himself in the Premier League, despite his injury problems – noticeably last season. But he has a long career ahead of him and with no disrespect to Everton, he needed a move to progress into the top player many expect he can be. And in all honesty the club will benefit just as much from his sale with it giving them a much needed injection of investment. But is Manchester City, the Premier League champions, the right club for this boy to go to?
Now in his early twenties, this is no time for him to warm the bench. What is worrying is that one of Mancini’s first comments after signing the player was, ‘he needs to improve to play at this level’. Not the most inspiring comment a manager has ever made about a new arrival.
So much so that England manager Hodgson has also expressed his fear that Rodwell will not get the much time needed, suggesting he may have to settle for picking young players who aren’t regulars for their clubs.
In all fairness to Mancini, there is no suggestion that he is against using English talent. Joe Hart, Micah Richards and Jolean Lescott tend to be included in his back five and James Milner and Gareth Barry are regulars in midfield.
But in Adam Johnson we see an example of what can go wrong with a big move to the wrong club. Since his move from Middlesbrough in 2010, the wide midfielder has been left to dry at the Etihad stadium as a result of the influx of foreign superstars. In his three years at the club he has often had to settle for substitute appearances and because of this has failed to solidify a place in the national side. He is now the wrong age of 25 and it won’t be long before people begin to talk about a wasted career both for club and country.
Jack Rodwell wants to play in Mancini’s midfield but so to do Yaya Toure, Gareth Barry, David Silva, Samir Nasri and James Milner. The list goes on.
Thoughts and comments welcome. Follow @pitchsidetalk – Appreciate the support!