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Rodwell the new Cahill… only better??

By Gary Creaney :  09/03/2010 :  Comments (36) :
Kevin Philips of Birmingham City has been employed as a striker for most of his professional career and has had some prolific premier league seasons to boot racking up 30 goals in 99-00 season. But he started out his career at Baldock Town as a right back. Someone, somewhere along the line spotted his attacking ability and unleashed it.

Take our very own Jack Rodwell – touted as the next Rio Ferdinand, destined to be a very high grade centre back for club and country, controlling and orchestrating play from the back. In order to learn his trade he has been employed as a defensive midfielder, where Moyes understands that any mistakes made through inexperience would not be as heavily punished if he were the last line of defence.

But its recent weeks that excites me more about this lad’s progress. It would appear that he has been given a license to attack from Midfield. Take his very own quote after the Man Utd game: “The boss told me to go on and mark Scholes but if the chance arises to get forward then try that too” – the result being a fantastic semi solo goal, bursting through and past the united defence and rifling a shot into the corner. Far all his worth to the team, Tim Cahill would not have been capable of doing that (in fact he’s intelligent enough to know his limitations and wouldn’t have tried it).

Take the Tottenham game, Donavan misses a open net sitter but the pass came from a Rodwell square after he’d taken up an excellent attacking position well inside the box.

Then take our most recent game against Hull. Donavon’s goal came as a direct result of Rodwell being right there in a goal scoring position, he put fear into the Hull defence with the result being that the ball rolled to Donavan in acres of space for a sublime finish.

And finally, Rodwell’s goal itself, he was again right there in the thick of things in an excellent attacking position to excellently finish after making a dart into the box.

Tim Cahill has been an excellent servant to our club, he has been and probably still is my favourite player. He loves our club and remained loyal even when he could have had his head turned during his truly prime years and he still has a lot to offer. But we all know that he has his limitations as a midfielder and he couldn’t be classified as an out and out striker hence the “Cahill role” was formed.

But now I’m asking that Rodwell be played in such a role more often. The lad can control and pass a ball in a superior fashion to Cahill. He can burst through with power of his own accord. He can time his runs into the box perfectly.

His height will allow him to get up well in the air also so maybe a bit of work on his heading ability please Davey and we have ourselves an upgrade on Tiger Tim.

Just need to make we sure we hold on to him now but I honestly think we’re more capable of doing that than we ever were with Rooney.

Reader Comments

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Ciarán McGlone
1   Posted 09/03/2010 at 10:06:45

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I see Billy as the Cahill replacement... Rodwell as a box-to-box player.
Steve Ferns
2   Posted 09/03/2010 at 10:05:06

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Tim Cahill might not be fastest, he might not be the most skilful, he may no longer be capable of getting the ball and driving at defences (but was he ever?), but these were never part of his game. Cahill’s not faded it’s just people seem to judge him by unreasonable standards of disimilar players.

Rodwell does not have Cahill’s attacking instincts. He will not have his nous of time after time after time of popping up in the right place. He will not have Cahill’s finishing abilities, as few have.

Cahill is amazing in the air, but how often do we see him run and jump, head and score. Never. Cahill’s ability there is all about the running, the way he loses his marker and appears unmarked or with half a yard on his marker to get a free header and power home.

For me Cahill has always been an off the ball player. Cahill’s far more dangerous when we have the ball at the feet of arteta, pienaar osman or another gifted passer than at the heart of thigs himself. Cahill’s a finisher not a creator.

When we don’t have the ball, he’s a narky little so and so and really gets about the opposition and unsettles them and harries them to get the ball back. We’re simply too nice a team without him, and Cahill is our Mr. Nasty.

Rodwell and Cahill are completely different players and whilst Rodwell is very comfortable on the ball, he lacks attacking instincts for me and will never be able to play a similar position to a similar level of quality to Cahill.

I’d rather see Rodwell develop into a Peter Reid, a destroyer, to hone his defensive skills and then excel becuase he can also pass and run at people himself.

There’s no doubting the kid’s a star, and I cannot see the lad leaving, he loves the club too much and no one has the money to afford him, right now, City excluded, and who’d seriously offer £30m for him?
Dick Anderson
3   Posted 09/03/2010 at 10:28:58

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I don’t like the idea of Rodwell becoming a ’Jack of all trades’. First he’s a defensive midfielder, then he’s a possible defender and now we are talking about an attacking midfielder.

The problem is when you have a player who can play in several positions then they tend to be moved around to do a job and their game suffers.

Alan Smith has become victim to his own versatility.

It might be better for Rodwell to pick a position and make it his own.
Dick Anderson
4   Posted 09/03/2010 at 10:34:22

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As for Cahill I don’t think he’s as good as his reputation claims.

He’s never scored more goals then he did in his first season at Everton.

He never seems to score with his feet anymore.

In fact you take away headed goals from corners and the guy probably has like 4 goals in 2 seasons.

Cahill has an incredible gift for scoring headed goals from set-pieces. In fact he may be the best in the world at that but is that enough to justify his place?

Everton’s midfield is full of ball playing craft-and-graft players. Arteta, Fellaini, Pienaar and even Osman can dominate games and thats without mentioning Donovan, Rodwell and Billy.

At present the Everton midfield are close to reclaiming the ’School of Science’ tag.

Where does Cahill fit into that?

This summer is probably Everton’s last chance to raise some money from Cahill.
Wayne Smyth
5   Posted 09/03/2010 at 10:39:24

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I think Rodwell would be wasted at centre half. Top quality defensive midfielder, or box to box midfielder certainly.

I think Moyes has been impressed and probably somewhat surprised with the quality of Rodwell’s finishing and his all-round play. A few of his comments have indicated that. So, the more licence Rodwell gets given the better he will show himself to be.

I’d be shocked if he was at centre back in 3 or 4 years time. I hope him and fellaini will be running the show for us in the middle by then. A far cry from the midget midfield we’ve sometimes have.
Gary Creaney
6   Posted 09/03/2010 at 11:34:16

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Steve Ferns,

I have been impressed with Rodwell for most of his fledgling career but by far the most he as impressed me is in recent weeks scoring 2 goals and being involved as an attacking threat in others (and he only started 1 of these games).

I think its very unfair to mention that Rodwell will never have the attacking instincts of Cahill when the recent evidence clearly suggests otherwise. And the finishing of his 2 goals was of the highest standard in my opinion.

I’m not suggesting he becomes a ’Jack of all trades’ either more that he sheds the defensive midfielder / centre half tag and shows off his real talent as a driving force in games.
Christopher Kelly
7   Posted 09/03/2010 at 11:43:03

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I have been feeling this way for a while now and this seems the appropriate time to chime in...

Cahill is a gifted player and one of the finest players to don an Everton kit over the past decade... end of... the aerial acrobatics, the heart, the leadership is the stuff of leonine men...And boy has he been important for us.

However, as our squad progresses and we play a more flowing style which should garner more goals from open play, where exactly does Tim Cahill fit in? No longer are we looking for a player to just nick a goal from a set piece or corner’s just too limited a role for the way we play now. Especially in as important a role as second striker. In essence we’ve outgrown him. And it’s a good thing!

Now to address this post, I think it’s a waste to try to make what could be one of this generations best defenders into an attacking midfielder...A 5’9’’ right back moving upfield is a much different proposition. And even if he could/should, Moyes wouldn’t let it happen. He cares more about preventing goals than scoring them.

However, the issue needs to be addressed and we need to find a second striker this offseason that can pump in 12-15 goals behind King Louis or the Yak (or whoever our striker is; unless we turn to a 4-4-2)...To me a second striker should be our main priority this offseason, along with a speedy winger on the right as we an all tell how much that has helped our development.

Phil Bellis
8   Posted 09/03/2010 at 12:30:28

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For a young lad, he shows great strength and responsibility — I thought he carried Donovan on Sunday.
Danny Burke
9   Posted 09/03/2010 at 13:06:09

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"In fact you take away headed goals from corners and the guy probably has like 4 goals in 2 seasons."

Why Dick? Don’t those goals from set pieces count? Cahill has according to Sky sports scored more headed goals in the Prem than the anyone else in the last 10 years. With Mikel and Pienaar, Baines, Bily and a few others able to delive good crosses I expect Timmy to get back to his best when he is fit. He doesnt have attributes that you loose as you age such as pace and he while limited, he is the very best at what he does. Dont put him out to pasture just yet

As for Rodders, I cant see him in the "Cahill role". He has undoubted talent but he does not have the ability to time a run or header like Tim, this is instinctive and while players can be coached is impossible to get to Tims level without a natuarl ability for it. For me though Rodders recent surges forward have surly shown he can be a box to box midfileder like Viera or Keane were and potentially dominate games (a bit like Fellaini of pre injury).
David Holroyd
10   Posted 09/03/2010 at 13:08:50

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Dick Anderson Cahill gets his reputation from other players lets not get rid lets keep all the squad together. We need a full pre season, a good mix is what makes a good midfield Cahill is part of that.
Paul Foster
11   Posted 09/03/2010 at 13:26:56

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Dick, why would you "take away headed goals from corners"? If I’m not mistaken, they still count.

His scoring record is 12, 8, 7, 10 and 9. So far this season he’s on 6 and imagine he’ll finish on 9 or 10 once again. And most tellingly, our win percentage with Cahill in the side is considerably higher than it is without him.
Dick Anderson
12   Posted 09/03/2010 at 13:33:20

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I’m not suggesting we ignore Cahill’s headed goals but I am asking is that enough to keep him in the Everton midfield.

In recent games Everton have shown a free flowing, fast moving game with their one touch football looking almost like Arsenal.

Lets be honest Arteta, Pienaar, Osman, Bilyletninov, Rodwell and even Fellaini and Heitinga can play ’School Of Science’ football.

Cahill is very limited. Grabbing the odd goal from a corner is not enough anymore. Those days are gone. Everton are now good enough to outplay teams.

I don’t know where Cahill fits into this side.
Danny Burke
13   Posted 09/03/2010 at 13:46:43

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At least things must be going well if it can be debated if Cahill is not good enough for our team anymore.

I personally want him around and would start him more often than not, even if he does not remain an automatic first choice though, what an option from the bench to come on and scare teams. Imagine defending a slim lead and being under the cosh when who comes into the mix, Tim Cahill.
Andy Codling
14   Posted 09/03/2010 at 13:35:41

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Yes Dick if you took away Dixie Deans headed goals, then he was really very average, oh hang on Im talking out of my arse
James Stewart
15   Posted 09/03/2010 at 13:56:04

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Well I agree with comment number one. I wouldn’t pigeon hole him into a defensive or attacking mid as he can do both expertly. A typical box to box Midfielder.

What I found more interesting though was Ciaran’s comment on Bily. Interested to know Ciaran’s opinion on him as I tend to agree with most of his posts and articulations. Personally I think Bily is the biggest waste of money by the club for a long time.
Dick Anderson
16   Posted 09/03/2010 at 14:06:53

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James Stewart — It's not unusual for a foreign player to take a season to adjust to the pace and power of the Premier League. Fellaini for example looked a bit lost last season but this season he was fantastic and was able to dominate games. Arteta and Pienaar also have got better every season they have played at Everton.

We have witnessed a few moments from Bilyaletdinov to suggest he has the goods to make it at Everton. I don’t think we can really judge until this awkward first season is past.

Let's see what Bilyaletdinov does next season before we really judge him.
Ron Joynson
17   Posted 09/03/2010 at 14:40:55

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As this lad becomes more experienced in the Premiership, I see him developing into a blue Steve Gerrard. He has similar abilities and Gerrard looked just like Rodwell when he was at this young age. Don’t you agree? What a development this would be without Jack needing to learn to either dive or belt people in Southport bars.
Colin Smith
18   Posted 09/03/2010 at 14:50:03

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If it’s a new Cahill we’re after I’d shoot for Gosling. At first glance he’s not blessed with great touch or pace, but what he does bring to the party is Cahill’s instinct for getting into the box unseen & getting a goal attempt away.
Tony Doran
19   Posted 09/03/2010 at 16:45:39

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Can’t recall Cahill scoring against Chelsea but he terified them. Rodwell? scored a couple of good goals but gave a few away and ball watches when defending, still very much potential. Please don’t compare him to Tiny Tim ’cause he’s the kangaroo’s bollocks. Oh and he’s a better foreward than the Yak and i don’t just mean heading, his all round play just ask any center half.
Brendan O'Doherty
20   Posted 09/03/2010 at 17:10:04

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Agree with those who say Rodwell could be a box to box midfielder. The finish against Hull was too good for any defender.

I don’t think anyone should replace Cahill in the ’Cahill role’ as only he can play it. Others have tried when he’s been out of the team and it has never worked properly. When he’s not playing for whatever reason we should go back to having 2 proper strikers on the pitch, at least at home.
Dick Fearon
21   Posted 09/03/2010 at 17:44:06

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Lets not forget some recent games when Cahills fight and enthusiasm were badly missed. Then there was Hull missing two midfield scrappers who could, had they played, turned that game into a midfield battle ground.
The Rodwell or Cahill debate is a case of playing silly buggers. On the one hand we have a world class tireless box to box player who fulfills his share of defensive, creative work and is always in the thick of things when a fighter is needed. He caps it off with some marvellous and usually vital goals.
I would not decry Rodwells potential yet despite the plaudits he is nowhere near the finished article.
Jack has also benefitted by coming on late in the game after opponents have been run legless.
Before drawing any kind of comparison with Tim I would like to see how Jack fares in a run of games doing the same job with the same results and at the same time being a top priority marked man.
Derek Thomas
22   Posted 09/03/2010 at 18:12:13

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yet another supposed string to Rodwells bow.

If he had to handle the ball on the line and gave away a panalty would some misguided person come up and say ’ he could be the replacement for Howard in 4 yrs’

He is a player in search of a proper specialist role. Like for instance a medical student, they try their hand at a bit of everything, on you and me and that a bit of a worry in it’s self. Only the gifted few go all the way to the glamour job of surgeon, some, through lack of the special touch of greatness (skill) and or coupled with a discovered apptitude or vocation for this branch or an other, some of the less disciplines glamourous.

Just as the Heavy weights are the blue riband of boxing, in football terms it’s the Torreses and Rooneys of this world then, the Gerrards and Lampards.... Good as he is at the moment he is not one of those.

He has to find, by accident or choice one of the other positions he can get a career out of and it may not be what he wants but it will have to be what he needs ( what if his one weakness was a shaky hand, well there goes his dream of being and eye surgeon then).

Just enjoy him and let him keep on with what amounts to his apprenticship and in 3 or 4 yrs lets see where he ends up, and I don’t mean up the east lancs.
James Stewart
23   Posted 10/03/2010 at 13:38:03

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Thats a fair point Dick and I often read the comparison with Fellaini regarding time to adjust etc. I don’t see any comparison there personally. Fellaini was a very useful player even in his first season and I have always liked him ever since his 1st game in blue. Bily on the other hand has proved to be a liability most of the time he has been on the pitch. And he is sooooo slow even slower than Kilbane! 9m lets not forget we paid for him! Happy to be proved wrong but I doubt that will happen. If Bily is worth that then how much is Osman worth?! As he is twice the player Bily is at present.
Dave Wilson
24   Posted 10/03/2010 at 14:46:15

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To call Cahill world class is really embarrassing, He’s been a good servant, pretty much in the same way as Kevin Davies has been for Bolton - although you can bet your life Bolton wouldn’t do a straight swap.

Everton have moved on under Moyse in recent months, they are playing a more refined game, sure there’ll always be a place for The Tigers crash bang wallop style, especially coming from the bench when we are chasing a goal, but to compare him to Rodwell ? Ones worth 10 times the other

Tim’s been a great servant, but lets be sensible, SAF will pay 30 million for Jack, you could take a nought of that figure and there would still be no takers for the Tiger, he’s worth more to us than anyone would pay for him, so lets keep them both,
Mike Elbey
25   Posted 10/03/2010 at 15:18:42

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I reckon Rodwell is potentially that good he would look good whichever position he played.

Also its easy to go overboard after a comprehensive victory against a very poor side. Yes we played really well but remember its only a week or so ago that we really missed the likes of Cahill against Sporting Lisbon.

Like Rodwell Cahill has his qualities. yes he is limited as a ball player but his fighting, aggressive non stop attitude serves us well in many games - Chelsea at home he was outstanding.

The point is we now have a really good squad and we can now actually contemplate leaving someone of cahills ability on the bench - that is really pleasing and its more about that rather than whether Rodwell is better than Cahill or anyone else for that matter.

If we can get Pienaar signed up on a long term contract and make the signing of Donavan permanent this summer then i am really optimistic of our chances of success next season.
Kevin Spencer
26   Posted 10/03/2010 at 16:16:47

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Billy is not the next Cahill. He is the next McFadden. Let’s just hope he will become adjusted to the Premier League and our style of play and turns out to be the finished article, not just promising. McFadden showed glimpses of what we all expected of him, but consistency was his weakness.

Gosling has many similarities to Cahill, as they both tend to "get into the box unseen", as someone already pointed out. But I also see very much of a new Steve Watson in the young boy. All three of them had the ability to come from nowhere to get us a goal out of nothing. That is some sort of instinct that can’t be trained. Either you have it, or you have not.

Rodwells place in the team is still an open book. He certainly has the talent to play in a number of positions, but if he is to make the most out of his talents, I believe central midfield is his place as a box-to-box player.

In the past, when there were just one or two substitutes on the bench for every game, there where much more reason to have an utility player who could play in a number of positions. Like Alan Harper for instance. Now, when we have seven players on the bench, we can have just as many specialists there, and still cover the whole pitch when needed. Only time will tell, whether Rodwell will continue as a midfielder, defender or maybe as a striker?
Matt Traynor
27   Posted 11/03/2010 at 00:21:01

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I think it’s wrong to even compare Rodwell and Cahill. They are about as similar as two completely dis-similar things in a pod [(c) Blackadder I think].

Rodwell is a good footballer - and an intelligent player. He would no doubt make an excellent centreback, but I agree with other posters who say that’s not where we need him. Heitinga has been a revelation - and I bet the Athletico Madrid fans who laughed at us for paying 6m for him aren’t anymore...

Cahill has a role. As others have said before, maybe that is more as an impact sub, or filling in for injuries / suspensions. He’s also one of my favourite players, but then so was Neville Southall 20 odd years ago, but in the end, he had to move on.
Geoff Edwards
28   Posted 11/03/2010 at 04:00:36

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To those slating Bily, FFS give him a chance.

The Russian premier league runs from March to November, meaning he’d already played close to a full season when he joined us. So, not only is he adjusting to a much faster/better league, he’s also knackered as he’s not had a proper break. He often gets subbed after an hour beacuse by then he’s blowing out his proverbial. If he was at a club with better resources his appearancves would be limited to 15 min cameos off the bench.

When he’s one of our best players next season, the utter ridiculousness of likening him to James McFadden will be as starkly displayed as a nipple at Superbowl.
Dan Brierley
29   Posted 11/03/2010 at 04:41:06

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I also get the impression that Bily is not fit. He seems completely knackered each time he comes off. This may also be the reason why he seems so slow. But this is something that can be improved, and hopefully make him more consistent.

His goal against United demonstrated his technique, so I think he has the ability.

Kevin Jones
30   Posted 11/03/2010 at 09:52:48

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I for one would cash in on Jack now. Against Man U I had a fiver on 2-1 Jack the lad comes on scores knackers my bet. Sunday I had my hard earned fiver on 4-1 @ 18/1 Jack comes on scores, knackers my bet again. He’s cost me over £100.00 in two games The first time was forgivable now he’s just getting on my tit.
Trevor Lynes
31   Posted 11/03/2010 at 15:26:50

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Rodwell reminds me more of a young Viera and he is nothing like Cahill.
In todays game a strong midfield squad of differing abilities and strengths is needed and each of our midfielders contribute to a degree in our successes...Nowadays game is all about pace and a few of our midfielders struggle to last the full 90 minutes and that is why top class subs must be on the bench.
That is the only way that any team can compete at the top level and when everyone is fit...we have a very strong midfield with a mixture of strengths to suit any tactics.
I only wish we had Rooney up front, then we would be ’real’ contenders.
Rodwell has the height and stride of Viera, I just hope he stays and reaches his full potential with us !!
Peter Warren
32   Posted 11/03/2010 at 17:59:27

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Agree wholeheartedly with Ron, he reminds me for ages of gerrard. Obviously just potential at minute but I certainly hope he is, what a transformation he would make to our team, a true superstar.

However, I actually don’t think he will be good enough to be a top class box to box midfielder. Don’t get me wrong, I think he will be top drawer, but at the back as a centre half
Martin Mason
33   Posted 12/03/2010 at 02:30:51

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I don’t see any comparison with Rodwell and Cahill. Only time will tell but I see Rodwell as a truly world class international player in 2-3 years and I have seen few better coming through since Gerrard a true rarity as an emerging English talent. Rodwell has the chance to be far better than Gerrard and don’t box him into a position, I believe he can pick his position anywhere through the centre from defence to midfield although I see central midfield b2b as his best slot. Alex Ferguson and Ancelloti would pay 30m for him at the drop of a hat and it will be the true sign of Everton’s transition from small club if they manage to keep him. Cahill is a journeyman midfielder with a useful knack of getting 10 goals a season but he wouldn’t get into a top 4 team for that and Rodwell would walk in for what he can offer. Everton are on the verge of great things (even champions league win) and the key men are the likes of Heitinga, Pienaar, Arteta, Jagielka, Fellaini, Saha, etc., who are true class and I rate Rodwell as up there with any of them. Cahill isn’t a key man at Everton, he was a great buy for a difficult period but that is all.
We Evertonians have a knack for not recognising genuine talent (like Donovan, better than SWP who was 20mm plus) but also of seeing class when it isn’t there which is my view of Tim much as I appreciate his contribution.
Everton are on a trajectory to the top, perhaps just a couple of good buys from the very top class and we must keep our best players too to make the step up.
I’ll never forgive Moyes or the players for the 2 defeats to Liverpool but clear of injuries I’m looking forward to a dual drubbing on them next year.
David Thomas
34   Posted 12/03/2010 at 05:37:20

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"Cahill is a journeyman midfielder"

He has played for two clubs in 13 years of football.

Martin Mason
35   Posted 12/03/2010 at 08:50:17

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Definition: 1. somebody with ordinary competence: a competent and reliable but unexceptional performer or exponent of something

That is how I see Timmy.
Mark Williams
36   Posted 13/03/2010 at 08:52:25

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Agree with Ciaran's initial comment.

Bily, from the little I’ve seen, looks like he could be a menace there.
Besides, Jack looks to me, to have the potential to control the middle of the park (not yet obviously!) — and that is a more precious commodity in my book.

He’s also got a pretty disciplined style, the cahill role is suited to attacking craft, ability to lose a man - being able to wander basically.

That’s my two cents chaps — now let’s have 3 points against the Brummies!

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