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COLUMNIST KEVIN SPARKE

Jack Rodwell - 'Der Kaiser'

By Kevin Sparke :  18/09/2009 :  Comments (32) :
Allow me to get carried away if you will. It’s the first home game of the 2015-16 season and the Everton and England Captain is leading the team around a redeveloped Goodison Park (Full to capacity 75,000) parading the Premier League Championship; the FA Cup and the Champion’s League Trophy. Each member of the crowds’ head filled with memories of Rodwell’s leadership and excellence as a footballer for the past five seasons; effortlessly and regally directing from the middle of the park as the fulcrum of the most successful and aesthetically balanced Everton team since the 1960s to football glory.

That’s what should happen — but it won’t. I’ve no doubt the future will bring Rodwell trophy after trophy but it probably won’t be at Everton... So let’s enjoy him whilst we can – Jack Rodwell – ‘Der Kaiser’

Why ‘Der Kaiser’? For those of you still wet behind the ears (Under 50) ‘Der Kaiser’ was the nickname of the one of the best footballers I was ever privileged to be able to watch - Franz Beckenbauer. He was a brilliant player; brave, tough, level headed, a fantastic football brain and the ability to direct the pace and the flow of any game he played in. At times his passing was imperious and he very rarely played a wayward pass and nearly always it was an intelligent and measured pass. In that great West German side of 1974 he was the architect of everything that was good about that team; everything came through Beckenbauer and everything the opposition tried seemed to be broken up by Beckenbauer.

For me his crowning achievement was the 1974 World Cup final when his leadership and skill as a tactician in defence controlled the pace of the game, owning the centre of the park and negated the Dutch genius Johan Cruyff’s side’s ‘Total Football’ through slowing the game down; keeping his team’s possession through accurate passing; spraying the ball to midfield and wide and dictating the pace and nature of the measured counter attacking football that West Germany played that day.

Now, I’m not saying for one moment that Rodwell is nearly as good as that — yet. But his poise, balance two-touch measured passing, intelligent direction of the pace and reading of the game is so reminiscent of ‘Der Kaiser’s’ magisterial and seemingly effortless style.

I’m hoping that Rodwell stays with us for many years and develops that style here; unfortunately, such is the lowness of our stock in contemporary English football, he is probably already regarded as another down payment in Bill Kenwright’s lunatic scheme to take us to Kirkby and the inevitable downsizing of the club to a mid-Championship side that this suicidal move will probably bring.

However, until one of the money teams comes calling, let’s enjoy watching this lad develop into the fine footballer he is going to be — gentlemen (and Ladies); I truly believe we are witnessing the birth of genius — Jack Rodwell 'Der Kaiser' FEC (Future England Captain)

Reader Comments

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Rupert Sullivan
1   Posted 18/09/2009 at 15:51:59

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Can’t say I disagree with your comments on Jack Rodwell at all. He has a calmness about the way he plays even whe he is chasing after a lost ball, last night he was stunning - if not quite imperious, I can’t remember him ever giving the ball away and only passed it backwards when there was no alternative. I am astounded at the space he manages to make for himself in the middle of the park.

Together with the excellent work and tracking of Fellaini and Cahill (who was a little impetuous at times - hence the card) the midfield looked solid anf impenetrable.

Long may it continue
Keith Glazzard
2   Posted 18/09/2009 at 15:55:07

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Thank you, Kevin. As I suggested on this site many weeks back in a discussion about Jack being a possible CH, he shows all the signs of being more of a Kaiser Beckenbaur. And younger. Franz moved into that role just into his 20s.

Fighting off the funny money that will be put on the club’s — and his — table will have nothing to do with Kirkby.
Nick Entwistle
3   Posted 18/09/2009 at 16:08:13

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He lost the ball once and then pounced like a freeking lion over 5 or 6 meters to get it back. Goodison appreciated the closing down and regaining of possession, but it was the shear athletism that struck me.

He also holds his arms out in dispair, not able to make the pass that his team mates haven’t seen, he’s quite something. Plus, he’s going to be a huge player in the Viera pysique.

Will he be better than Franz? Right now, I couldn’t give a dam, just let him get on with his own game. Saying he’s going to be that good, is the same as saying Everton are going to lift all those trophies. A bit pointless at this stage.

Ciarán McGlone
4   Posted 18/09/2009 at 16:18:45

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A fair comparison and a sombre warning...

While i’m happy enough to let the likes of Lescott go for silly money...Midfielders of Rodwell’s obvious potential are a different matter..

Reminds me of another German player as well...a certain Mr Matthaus..
Martin Mason
5   Posted 18/09/2009 at 16:37:24

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Could he be the catalyst that can make a good team much better? Please let's not rush things or put him on a pedestal to eventually knocking him off it though. Enjoy it though while it lasts because Ferguson rates him massively and we will sell. Imagine a mature Rodwell in a good United team. One real positive that we sometimes overlook is Everton’s success in developing their own young players and buying good young players. I haven’t seen the Blues for a while now but how does Gosling play, any promise?
Steve Ferns
6   Posted 18/09/2009 at 16:35:44

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I like the lad, he’s level headed and from Southport. Unlike a young Wayne Rooney there were no pictures of other teams players on his wall as a younger lad (Alan Shearer and other England players) and Jack has a bit more off the pitch intelligence and looks like someone who knows he can develop at Everton over the next 4 or 5 years and hopefully he will make this team a top 4 side.

I do not know about the Lothar Matthaus comparison as he doesn’t seem to have shown any signs of mastering pinpoint accurate 70 yard cross field balls or to have that incisiveness in the final third. He seems more of a Beckenbauer to me and quite frankly is the player we have been craving for over 20 years, The General, and hopefully, he will grow into that role and become the next Mr Everton.
Ciarán McGlone
7   Posted 18/09/2009 at 16:48:06

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Steve I seen several cross field passes last night...a joy to behold!

I’d say - he’s a bit like Rodwell..
John Pulman
8   Posted 18/09/2009 at 16:45:27

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Every time I see Rodwell play I get more and more excited about the player he’s becoming and I’m not the only one. I have many friends who support various Prem and FL teams and when talking about Everton they always mention Jack and what a great player he is. Perhaps the best compliment was a kopite saying that if he continues this season like he’s started then he’s a shoo-in for Capello’s World Cup squad.
Ciarán McGlone
9   Posted 18/09/2009 at 16:58:26

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I certainly don’t want Rodwell at the World Cup... Rooney Mark II.
Jay Harris
10   Posted 18/09/2009 at 17:01:00

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Kevin, I posted a similar article after the Sigma game.

He really does look calm and majestic at times but credit also to Bigwig who I thought partnered him really well last night.
John Pulman
11   Posted 18/09/2009 at 17:04:54

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To say that Rodwell would be affected in the same way as Rooney in the England squad is a bit unfair on the lad. Rooney was always out for himself and it was the machinations of his agent along with that ambition that took him away. I’d like to think that Rodwell has a bit more about him than Wayne did. He certainly seems to from everything I've seen and heard about him.
Damian Kelly
12   Posted 18/09/2009 at 17:15:55

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I think he is astonishing for an 18 year old. Rooney was great but playing up front he had the option of running with the ball and just going for it - he had less responsibility for what went on around him. The maturity and tactical awareness that Rodwell has, the fact that he is almost always available, that he can control the pace of the game and practically never gives the ball away is amazing. Sadly I will be very surprised if he plays more than 100 games for us. I hate it when players like him come along - its the hope that kills you as an Evertonian
Phil Bellis
13   Posted 18/09/2009 at 17:57:18

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The way the lad’s progressing, I can’t wait to see the him alongside Arteta; hopefully it’ll be shades of Harvey and Kendall

And, Keith, you’re right, the money-clubs will be in for him but I DO fear the spectre of Kirkby — don’t forget Bill has to get the money from somewhere or his goose is stuffed and cooked.

Ian Tunstead
14   Posted 18/09/2009 at 17:55:08

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Let's not get carried away, yes he was very good last night but so were a lot of other Everton players, including Gosling, whoI think is very under-rated.

Rodwell is still very inconsistent and his best games have come against teams that we don't know much about so it is difficult to gauge his talent against the unknown quality of the oposition.

It's in games like the Fulham game when I want to see him take charge and not go missing as he did.

Gosling also never put a foot wrong all night and spent more time in the opposition's half than his own playing more RM than RB.
Dominic Bobadilla
15   Posted 18/09/2009 at 18:07:26

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Rodwell was absolutely amazing last night. The absence of that nuisance called Phil Neville will be good for the lad.
Keith Glazzard
16   Posted 18/09/2009 at 18:10:34

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Kevin - an apology. I wondered about the ’Kaiser’ comparison and googled Rodwell and the original, and best, Becks. It seems that we’ve been talking about him in these terms forever. Let’s just hope that nonsense about him being a CB simply disappears.

Ian - totally agree about Gosling. Definitely on his way up. And if Jack puts in a couple more performances like that, the old pros will simply expect him to take more responsibility. He’s just in that no-man’s land between being the kid and the boss at the moment.
Tony Doran
17   Posted 18/09/2009 at 18:36:01

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I’ve seen him play great against Sigma, AEK and the shite last year when they went down to 10 shities. He’s still just potential for me and when he’s does it regulary against top players i’ll be happier. But be warned if The board still show the same ambition he’ll be off.
Jay Woods
18   Posted 18/09/2009 at 18:45:12

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He’s undoubtedly going to be sensational, our Steven Gerrard, if you will. We’re going to find it tough to hold on to him, but the club should actually insist that we do and break the salary rules (when the time comes) to keep him from wandering off.
Howard Don
19   Posted 18/09/2009 at 18:59:23

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Kevin, I remember a filthy wet night at Anfield for a European cup game when Beckenbauer was in his pomp. I’d only gone along to the dark side because I wanted to see him play and got a seat right on the front row of one of the side stands and got completely soaked as the wind and rain blew in.

"Der Kaiser" didn’t disappoint, he was one of those players with an aura around him that said I’m better than anyone else here and you and I both know it . Nothing was a problem, the man was just sheer class, imperious doesn’t do him justice.

Jack Rodwell? well yes you’re right he has that supreme self awareness and confidence, and some of his passing last night was sublime. But Beckenbaueresque? A long way to go yet I fear. but the lad has phenomenal potential if he sticks to it and doesn’t get carried away with himself or injured.
Alan Kirwin
20   Posted 18/09/2009 at 19:02:36

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The risk is clearly two fold.

1. Either he keeps his feet on the ground and just plays his game, develops in the right way. Or he assumes the arrogance & impatience of youth, wants more, faster and better.

2. He stays loyal to EFC for at least 5 years (and hopefully 15). or his agent starts looking for his first big pay day much earlier.

Let’s face it, this kid is pushing all the right buttons. He has more than a fair chance of being on the plane to SA. If he escapes serious injury then his value in 3 years (still only 21) will be astronomical.

We can only hope that either EFC find their benevolent billionaire or, my preference, there are UEFA rules in place to prevent the likes of Man City & others doing what they want.

Nobody bosses big games at 18. That just doesn’t happen for reasons of experience, confidence & strength. But this boy is close to doing it. Big, strong, fast, two-footed, likes a shot, doesn’t give the ball away. He’s Beckanbauer, he’s Matthaeus, he’s Carlos Alberto, he’s going to probably be captain of Everton (if he stays) and England. he could be the first £100m player.

How much was Kirkby again? :)

Tim Lloyd
21   Posted 18/09/2009 at 18:57:38

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Hm! Interesting Kevin. He certainly had a good game last night and like a good wine, appears to improve as he grows older.

The trouble with last night was, a little slice of luck and AEK Athens. They really were a rather poor side. Those two quick goals filled the Blues with great confidence and AEK’s lack of quality did the rest.

Once again, I find contributors to this forum apparently fully aware of all the ramifications surrounding DK.... Where do you get all this surprising knowledge from?

Lets just wait and see (1) if DK gets the go-ahead and (2) where the outcome will lead the club.

Back to the team last night. Bily was a breath of fresh air. One has to feel, as he grows accustomed to his new team mates and Premier League football, he is really going to be a tremendous asset . Already one feels there is a burgeoning partnership there between Bily and Bainsey.

Over on the other flank, Peanuts and Gosling also made our right flank something to be pleased about. Peanuts we know about but Gosling, even allowing for the poor showing by AEK, performed really well. Remember he is only 19. He won’t find himself up against such poor opposition that often but I noticed particularly how he scuttled back to his defensive duties whenever an attack from our right flank foundered.

I personally like Hibbert as a person but he is simply not up to standard as a Premier League right back. He seemed so often caught out of position when he tried to go forward and of course his lack of inches made his heading in defensive situations, i.e. corners and crosses, especially dangerous.

So difficult to say but one can’t help feeling a lift after last night's display. It's just what we have all been crying out for.

Dave Wilson
22   Posted 18/09/2009 at 19:37:29

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Easy boys...

Beckenbauer, Matthaeus, Gerrard, Alberto? Some of these players are all time world greats?

It's not that long ago when JR was left battered and run ragged by a couple of old pros at Upton Park, there’ll be a few more lessons dished out from the likes of Bowyer and Parker before we can even call him the finished article.

Jack Rodwell has enormous potential, the excitement is understandable, but lets let the boy breathe, give him a chance to develop, learn his trade, let him come to terms with all the media attention he’s bound to attract.

At this stage of his development it's really unfair to start burdening him with comparisons to some of football's true greats.

Nick Marsh
23   Posted 18/09/2009 at 20:13:24

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I think Moyes has got a good grip on how to handle Rodwell.... At times he looks out of his depth, which is understandable for a young man in a demanding position, he gets benched for a few games but he comes back each time looking like a better player. I find it frustrating that some more experianced but less able players get the nod ahead of Rodwell but when he comes back so strong you have to accept that not playing sometimes is part of his development.
Brian Waring
24   Posted 18/09/2009 at 20:23:57

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I wonder if we could let him train with Arsenal under Wenger mid-week, and then he comes and plays with us when we have a game.
Rob Sawyer
25   Posted 18/09/2009 at 21:15:55

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What makes Rodwell appear to have so much time and space is that he is genuinely two-footed so he always has the option of turning either way to give himself space. He exudes class but can still go AWOL as I felt in did in a tough match against Fulham. Still - a rare talent that I hope we will see for a few years before the lure of a regular Champions League club becomes too tempting.
Iain Love
26   Posted 18/09/2009 at 21:37:26

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I posted on another thread about young Jack so sorry if you’ve read this already.

I never quite got what everyone else was on about with Rodwell, good prospect yes top notch I wasn’t sure. The Rooney comparisons unfair as playing up front is always more eye-catching, plus as a player Rooney was always destined for the very top.

Anyway back to Jack, maybe it was because Neville wasn’t there and Jack thought (or was told) to step up to the plate, and boy did he, last night he became a man. Der Kaiser? you're having a laugh, Jack's now a great prospect but sorry, he’s still miles off that level.

Great night, great result but will Moyes stick with that team? Somehow I doubt it.

Steven Jones
27   Posted 18/09/2009 at 22:05:35

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A few of random comments of context folowing last nights enjoyable watch ....

1. This squad is much much stronger than last year - not only Distin for Lescott - Neil , Bett, Billy and Jo but also fit Saha, Yak and Arteta eventually but also Gosling and Rodders who are as expected tranied on and developing into first teamers.

2. Rodders is very different to the greats mentioned and is his own man developing with the benefit of the curretn era of football which has moved on so much. He is and will continue to be so much better than some of those greats mentioned at certain techniques that mark him as different. The calm controlled vision looking forward in tight situations coupled with one or two directional change tricks and the direct running, passing and shooting is one hell of a combination.

3. Overall despite comments on the opposition last night with the little technical cammeos from Felli, Rodders, Bily, Bainesy and Pienaar it reminded me of a time when Howard as player manager was part of a threesome with very young Tricky Trev (Alan Irvine) and Gary Stevens and we started to show some shape and rythym.

Whisper quietly but I have the same feeling and potential of this lot could be anything.

4. Moyesy likes to have leaders as did our great 80s side. Neill is a leader and captain, Bily is a leader and captain, Distin the same and so is Heitinga — not to mention Jags and Bainsey who were captains fo Sheff Utd and Wigan respectively — We now have the winning mentality throughout the squad.

5. I do now believe that with the improved depth and quality of squad it will mean that Hibbert and Osman will not be first choice on the right and we will have enough to balance the Thursday-Sunday cycle.
Ciarán McGlone
28   Posted 19/09/2009 at 02:29:03

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Superb discussion.
Kevin Sparke
29   Posted 19/09/2009 at 07:04:42

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As some have you have pointed out, it is probably unfair to burden the lad with so much expectation. He has lots of development to get through yet and one of those areas that needs attention is consistancy.

As I hinted at in the original article, he is nowhere near the finished artical and the comparisons with ’Der Kaiser’ are more to do with a similarity of style. He has the same hunger for the ball and is developing the same ’charisma’ or ’presence’ in the centre of the park... for want of better words

Howard Don best sums it up in his comments. If he gets to be half as good as Beckenbauer he’ll still be some player.
Geoff Edwards
30   Posted 19/09/2009 at 17:01:43

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Dave Wilson’s post sums it up for me, every word.
Wesley Coles
31   Posted 19/09/2009 at 22:41:08

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I reallly hope Rodders develops into a player that can do a Lee Carsley AND offer a bit more going forward. Fingers crossed!
Steve Morgan
32   Posted 22/09/2009 at 04:31:34

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Rodwell is a tremendous player, but the OP’s insistence on putting in his sideswipe on kenwright spoils what is otherwise a good article on the young player.

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