Jack Rodwell's chequered career path since coming through the ranks of Everton's Academy to make his debut as a 16-year-old is outlined in this Mirror article today.
He hasn't played a competitive game for 16 months but the 30-year-old has made his next move by agreeing a contract with Australian side Western Sydney Wanderers. He has signed a 2-year deal with the A-League side.
» Read the full article at The Mirrior
Reader Comments (39)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 10/11/2021 at 16:34:31
At the time he was sold, as I recall, the move came as something of a surprise. It was the all-too-familiar story: he was one of our best players to have come through the Academy and made a substantial impression in the first-team, earning those England caps.
But the injury nightmares were never far below the surface either, and from afar, that's what seems to have been the biggest blight on a very promising but ultimately hugely disappointing career in professional football.
2 Posted 10/11/2021 at 16:42:24
I remember when Rodwell was 16, watching a game on TV when he was on the bench. The whole game, the "knowledgeable" Stewart Robson was slagging off Moyes for not bringing on "the young striker Rodwell."
That apart, his future probably looked brightest when he and a bunch of youngsters beat Spain under Capello. Looked weirdest when that private video of him leaked. And then Sir David Moyes of East London hung him out to dry publicly by blaming his wages for Sunderland's demise. Whatever else happened, he did score a nice goal for us versus Man Utd – along with those other "Legends" Bilyaletdinov and Gosling.
3 Posted 10/11/2021 at 17:09:05
Sad really that the only real highlight, certainly in his Everton career, was the goal against Man Utd. Although at that time I recall some saying he was the next Steven Gerrard!
4 Posted 10/11/2021 at 17:16:28
We did well to get a decent fee for him if I remember right. Im not sure he would have been top class even without being blighted by injury. But you have to hand it to the guy, he must love his footy and still playing at a good level in Australia. Hes certainly no quitter.
5 Posted 10/11/2021 at 17:20:14
He did some fantastic things for us, especially against both Mancs, but he always seemed rather "gentle" to me....
The only time I remember him showing the slightest hint of aggression was when he went for a ball against the Red Shite and Martin Twatkinson showed the most ill-judged red card of all time – Cheating Bastard.
I thought he would carry all before him when he got his big move, but he seemed to disappear even further into his shell.
Had all the tools, just not the "edge". To this day, I still don't get it.
6 Posted 10/11/2021 at 17:21:23
7 Posted 10/11/2021 at 17:25:16
"Rodwell came on for Pienaar with 5 mins left as Everton defended another corner, and time ticked away. 90th minute and Arteta played the ball to Jack Rodwell, who went for it, skipping past Evra and shooting brilliantly across Van der Sar, into the far side of the net, a real quality finish. Rodwell ripped off his shirt (yellow card, of course) and milked the Gwladys Street adulation, providing the perfect icing on the cake" to a tremendous 3-1 win (20 February 2010).
I also forgot that was one of Landon Donovan's great games for The Blues.
8 Posted 10/11/2021 at 17:51:57
I forgot about Donovan altogether and his brief winter-break loan spells.
9 Posted 10/11/2021 at 18:31:03
He had a lot of problems with hamstring injuries before we sold him to Man City. We received a very good fee for a player who never fulfilled his early promise.
10 Posted 10/11/2021 at 18:32:28
I thought the second was an absolute belter but within a few short years I thought the same of Rodwell himself.
11 Posted 10/11/2021 at 18:41:15
However, apart from physical attributes, he never looked suited to the role. His use of the ball was nothing special.
He could, however, have excelled in defence (where he started) but got caught up in the glamour of a more attacking role.
Really excellent prospect who went from injuries to bench to pointlessness and then obscurity.
12 Posted 10/11/2021 at 20:20:39
Constant sideways passes and no impact on the game... yet people always seemed to rave over him!! I was glad we sold him for the pretty decent fee we got.
I've have no issue with him and hope he does well in Australia. I just never rated him.
13 Posted 10/11/2021 at 21:15:35
14 Posted 10/11/2021 at 21:33:23
Ever Benega produced a similar work intended for a small audience
15 Posted 11/11/2021 at 03:37:43
16 Posted 11/11/2021 at 06:40:16
Osman said Rodwell had a bit of a "as long as I had a good game it doesn't matter what the score was" attitude.
Osman said pretty much what we knew at the time, that Jack had loads of attributes, smooth passer of the ball, he could strike a mean shot too, but he never quite had the hunger or desire to succeed for a long career in the top level.
I'd say that sums him up, yes there were bad injuries, but others have been in a similar boat and still forged a more fruitful career.
Rodwell like many of our young talents just never had that hunger and drive to keep going and for me that is a concern.
Look through the years and you'll see a familiar pattern, Michael Branch, Danny Cadamarteri, Franny Jeffers, Keiran Dowell (although Dowell never really felt like an Everton player).
Cadamarteri certainly had talent, Jeffers too, but their careers tailed off at an alarming rate.
17 Posted 11/11/2021 at 08:16:15
I do think they would benefit from greater grounding in education from a young age and quite possibly support with neuro diversity issues.
We might find that players coming through are better able to handle it when they do come through.
18 Posted 11/11/2021 at 08:45:12
I'm going to step away from Rodwell a bit, as I tend to agree with a lot of what has already been said above. It goes back to the questioning and scrutiny of Everton's Academy or the academy system in general in my opinion.
A few thoughts.
Do we throw these kids in too early? Into a man's game when they are still learning and physically growing? Introduce them by all means, but there seems to be a tendency to expect too much too soon on a consistent basis nowadays. Even Rooney, who no-one was stopping from banging down the first-team changing room door. But his legs had gone by the time he came back to Everton at the age of 31 or 32. Which in this modern era is still relatively young.
Of course there are multiple factors that play a part. The individual, mentality, lifestyle choices, diet & nutrition and luck (or bad luck) with injuries. But I just wonder about this clamour to not only "play the kids", but then put the burden of continuous expectation on them. Very few young players will cope with that, especially the goldfish bowl of expectation that is the Premier League. Back to my point about gradual introduction rather than throwing them into the Bear Pit. We need to take more care of most of these young players.
Coaching and positioning. Back to Rodwell, I saw a centre-back or sweeper personally. Are the coaches trying to make a player fit a position they want or coaching the player to excel in his best position? Was Rodwell (and others) coached and used correctly? We saw Leon Osman, a technically gifted central midfielder constantly used as a wide player for years. I assume because he was considered lightweight and small.
Repeat warning: quit your punditry job, Leon, and get yourself to Finch Farm. And convince Pienaar to leave his role in the Ajax Academy to join you!!
The modern elite academy bubble is a problem for me too. Rodwell and arguably Barkley are good examples of how these lads are taken at a very young age and grow up living in a surreal environment that is almost the football equivalent of The Truman Show. I believe Chelsea have taken positive steps to address this, to be fair, and are seeing the benefits.
You could argue they get it too easy. In that respect, they've "made" it at 12 years old, so the hard work mentality escapes them as they live in their own world. But then to counter that, they sacrifice a normal youth to chase the dream.
Anyway, a bit of a brain dump of thoughts. I'll finish by saying I'm pleased to see Jack still earning a living playing football, even if it's not the level we hoped and thought he would reach. Good luck, son.
19 Posted 11/11/2021 at 09:50:51
I definitely think his career as a footballer could have prospered had he not been stricken with repeated injuries, and had he not been used in several different positions on the field.
Still, as has been said, Everton profited substantially from his sale to Man City; in my book, he is not deserving of being remembered as a player who was a failure, not like some of the signings of recent years who have been very, very poor.
20 Posted 11/11/2021 at 09:54:42
21 Posted 11/11/2021 at 10:41:51
22 Posted 11/11/2021 at 10:44:18
He declined, saying he was doing alright as it was. Injuries did have an effect on his game but so did the fact that he thought he didn't need to do anymore than what he was doing.
He had the making of a very good player; he could have become that very good player with a lot more dedication, like a few other players with different clubs all over the country.
23 Posted 11/11/2021 at 12:24:13
24 Posted 11/11/2021 at 12:35:18
25 Posted 11/11/2021 at 14:26:39
I remember Jack Wilshere and Jack Rodwell being touted as the future midfield for England, both have been blighted by injury and are effectively out of football
26 Posted 11/11/2021 at 17:36:41
27 Posted 11/11/2021 at 22:37:37
Problem with kids today – see Thierry Small: "I'm 16. I'm going to be a star. I need to be in the team now. Okay, I'm off." Clubs have a horrible job in managing expectations and careers.
And Danny, yes. I would love to see today's kids being coached by Pienaar and Osman. Their feet were good but their brains were even better. And the latter is the most important.
28 Posted 11/11/2021 at 22:54:25
However, I can recall only two games when he was played there for the first team. Pre-season friendlies v Coventry and Blackpool.
He was woeful. Truly appalling.
At the other end of the spectrum, when he played his now normal midfield role for England, he was outstanding. Even better than he looked when playing for Everton.
It's funny how things turn out sometimes.
29 Posted 12/11/2021 at 00:41:42
30 Posted 14/11/2021 at 20:15:24
How many games has he played for Southampton since he left for regular football???
31 Posted 14/11/2021 at 22:37:47
It's a big fat zero. Soccerbase show no senior games for him so far this season. And according to TransferMarkt he's not been on the bench for them either.
He did get a game for Southampton U21 side in the EFL Trophy. but that's on a par with what he would have gotten at Everton under Rafa, had he stayed.
Oh, and he's had 5 starts and scored two goals in PL2 Division 2 – that's the tier below where Everton U23s play, so he has effectively taken a backward/downward step.
Maybe he's not quite as good as he thought he was?
32 Posted 21/11/2021 at 10:35:59
33 Posted 21/11/2021 at 12:36:36
I can't decide who will look back on their career with more disappointment – Rodwell or Barkley. Still, they should both be set for life in any case!
34 Posted 23/11/2021 at 18:15:15
Another fine Everton youngster that didn't reach the heights he may have hoped... and it is sad to say Everton have had a few in recent memory. Jeffers and Vaughan are two other names that come to mind.
Hopefully he can finish his career on a high note in Oz but, when you are a continual ''sick note'', you can never know what the next day will bring.
35 Posted 25/11/2021 at 02:42:09
"Rodders" was the nickname for the simularly talented and injury-blighted Tony Grant (because he looked a lot like Rodders from Only Fools and Horses).
I thought we would be a rival to David Beckham in the mid to late 1990s but injury robbed him of a meaningful career. Fantastic passer of the ball, but just too fragile.
36 Posted 25/11/2021 at 04:11:47
I remember Tony Grant got his big break as a striker during Jimmy Gabriel's caretaker spell after Howard Kendall Mk II. I remember he was highly rated at the time. I also read Joe Royle thought highly of him.
TBH I never saw what they saw in him but, if injuries were a factor, that makes sense and I bow to Joe Royle's better judgment. Didn't he join City?
37 Posted 26/11/2021 at 16:34:15
38 Posted 26/11/2021 at 16:43:40
I wouldn't say it's just Everton's Academy, but we are seemingly particularly bad for it.
Kids who think they've made it by 10 or 12 years old because they're in the bubble of the academy. Probably behaving (I don't know, just assume) like they've made it so switch off from the hard work it takes to succeed as a footballer or in any walk of life???
Comfort zone springs to mind, hence why I and others call for kids not to be taken into this type of enclosed unreal environment until they are at least 14 years old.
39 Posted 26/11/2021 at 17:45:41
But you have to believe that, when they make it through the gates of Finch Farm, they have the ability, the hunger, the desire, the tenacity to succeed as footballers? If not, then we're on a hiding to nothing.
I think this is where the competitive leagues and cups come in, at least for the U18s and U23s – let's just focus on them. But for both me and Bill to be right, maybe something happens between coming in as brilliant starlets, and progressively having the True Grit X-Factor, whatever, beaten out of you by the system, by the time you get near the end?
Even so, I see no evidence of Academy players who "prefer the treatment table". Of course I don't know for sure but it seems to me that the injuries are genuine, and that most recover at some point. Are some injury-prone? Of course. But what you are saying, Bill, is simply a shameless and completely unjust accusation.
If they "have been brought up to believe that ability is enough", and yet they are still competitive with other Academy sides, then what does that say about all the other Academies? That they are just as bad.
No, sorry, I don't accept this mud-slinging. The players themselves are good up to a certain level. But to go beyond that to become Premier League superstars, you have to be really really special... and we've not had anyone like that since Rooney.
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.