Jack Hitting the Road is Probably for the Best

The departure of Jack Rodwell is a disappointing but could represent the best outcome for Everton given their financial realities

Lyndon Lloyd 15/08/2012 21comments  |  Jump to last

If you'd asked Evertonians which date they were most looking forward to this summer, many would probably have skipped past next Monday's 2012-13 Premier League opener against Manchester United and cited 1st September when the summer transfer window officially closes.

The close season may, up until the last week or so, have been a slow one in terms of the Premier League merry-go-round, but Blues fans have had to contend with near constant media-fueled speculation regarding Manchester United's supposed interest in Leighton Baines, not to mention occasional suggestions that Chelsea might poach Marouane Fellaini or that John Heitinga could be winging his way to Inter Milan or Turkey.

And, of course, the closer we got to the end of August, the greater the fear that the Club's financial constraints might necessitate another deadline-day sale of a prized asset with no time to draft in replacements to a squad that has seen a double-digit loss of personnel from the senior and Academy ranks since the end of last season.

Even though there was a sense that, despite the relatively small funds realised from the sales of Tim Cahill and Joseph Yobo, Everton might not need to sell any more this month, speculation remained that one of the Club's more saleable assets would be leaving before the 31st August deadline.

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Given his waning form and recent injury problems, few would have thought Jack Rodwell would be the one to leave, though. Having been forced to miss out on England's Euro2012 adventure and the chance to represent the reunited Great Britain team at the London Olympics, it seemed as though Rodwell's only focus this month would be to complete his rehabilitation from a succession of frustrating hamstring tears and prepare for the coming season with Everton.

It promised to be a crucial one for him, too. After effortlessly making the step up from the Academy to Everton's first team and establishing his credentials as the Blues' brightest home-grown prospect since Wayne Rooney by the 2009-10 season, Rodwell's career has visibly stalled over the last two seasons.

Injuries lay at the heart of it; he struggled to regain his form after a two-month lay-off in the autumn of 2010 and his 2011-12 campaign was wrecked by those mysterious hamstring problems at a time when he was supposed to be blossoming into the future England captain so many observers expect him to become.

There were addiitonal questions over just how big a role David Moyes's system and tactics had played in Rodwell's plateaued development and with the hopes that his injury issues were behind him, the next nine months were expected to throw some light there as well.

So, it wasn't just the quiet manner in which City swooped for the 21 year-old and concluded the deal that caught so many by surprise. And though the 12m fee is ultimately disappointing given some of the ludicrous money that has been doled out for more mediocre "talent" recently indeed, just look across the Park at the likes Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll it's a decent one for an Academy graduate whose future prospects are clouded in doubt. The chances that anyone read long-time rumoured suitor, Sir Alex Ferguson was going to risk 20m on a player with a freshly chequered injury history and struggling for form were very small.

Certainly, if Moyes is able to draft in quality additions to his squad in the next two weeks, the money will be more useful to him than a player who was no longer an automatic first choice starter in central midfield. Though pre-season form is an unreliable yardstick, the sense is that Francisco Junior has showed his manager enough to suggest he can be a ready-made replacement for Rodwell's place in the senior squad and he has effectively swapped places with Jack costing the Blues nothing in return. And if by letting Rodwell go, Moyes has fended off any urgency the Board might have felt to cash in on Baines, then his move to the Etihad will have had one added benefit.

The challenge for the manager who agreed to let him go, of course, is to bring in the handful of faces he needs before the end of the month to bolster what remains an uncomfortably small squad. With the addition of Steven Naismith and the retention of Steven Pienaar, the first team is as strong as ever under Moyes's tenure but there is a worrying lack of depth should injuries begin to bite.

With M'Baye Niang on trial and talks underway regarding Kevin Mirallas, the manager is clearly pressing ahead with his plans to strengthen his squad, and with his quota of loans unfilled heading towards deadline day, it would not be a surprise at all to see him pad his numbers with targeted acquisitions of players deemed temporarily surplus to requirements when crunch time comes on the 31st.

There is no question, though, that as a boyhood Evertonian and a player we have groomed over the past few years, Rodwell's premature departure is saddening in many ways. Jack always carried himself with the utmost professionalism and maturity and he will surely leave Goodison with every Evertonian's best wishes for a great career. If he can grab this opportunity with both hands and revel in a fresh start, it could be just the move he needs to get back to his best.

He certainly looked at one stage to have the stature, the temperament and the ability to become a giant at Everton, a future captain and a rock around which to build a team. But so little has been seen recently of the unbridled, precocious talent that smashed two majestic long-rangers past Sigma Olomouc in 2009 and marauded through United's defence the following spring to drive home the third goal in a famous 3-1 romp that you get the feeling that, given our severely limited resources, it was better for the Club to cash in now and use the money to build the squad than give him time to re-find his best form at Goodison... with no guarantee that he will. City, with their vastly superior funds, can afford to take that risk.

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Reader Comments (21)

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Steve Mink
1 Posted 15/08/2012 at 19:58:32
Good summary.
Joe McMahon
2 Posted 15/08/2012 at 20:32:42
Yeap, as above Lyndon, well summarised.
Dick Brody
3 Posted 15/08/2012 at 20:23:02
Jack always carried himself with the utmost professionalism and maturity?

Like the time he drove to training with his girlfriend and a satnav but still got lost and had to call a taxi so he could follow it to the training ground?

Or the time he begged Wayne Rooney's hooker Jenny Thompson for sex? That ended with them having text sex and Jack sending her a picture of his manhood which she then gave to the press.

Where was the professionalism and maturity when Jack Rodwell's pixelated manhood appeared in the Sunday tabloids?

Already we are looking at Jack Rodwell with rose-tinted glasses. What I remember is an injury prone midfielder who had a habit of passing sideways or disappearing completely from games. He never put his authority on a game, never dominated and at times strolled around the pitch almost in a dream.

Brian Bates
4 Posted 15/08/2012 at 20:45:33
Fully agree, as long as Moyes sees most of the cash
Ian Bennett
5 Posted 15/08/2012 at 20:34:47
It was the right deal, but another poor episode where another young player is ushered through the door to give the manager resources that is required for a top 6 club. On paper keeping baines and Fellaini were a must, and Moyes dealings look vindicated.

Rodwell will probably fade away and the right call was made. However, if he does come good we might have flushed away a lad that would have stuck with the club for a long time. Do you think we can say the same about his midfield big haired team mate?

I personally don't think the current side is anywhere moyes's best. We have a good goal scorer but lack the creativity of 3 plus years. Moyes has got rid of the 3 players that were absolutely right to go. Add the 2 signings made and a couple of more new faces and even the mob may come around that Moyes still has it in him to serve beef Wellington with corn beef cash.

Peter Henry
6 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:05:58
Well put! It is always a shame to lose players you have brought through! Although in this case I felt he had maybe reached his level already! He could prove alot of people wrong and do another Rooney, although I expect him to do a franny jeffers!! Not through wasting his talent but simply a move to soon to warm a bench on a team he simply won't brake in to
Ian Smitham
7 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:16:35
Thanks Lyndon, what a well balanced and objective assessment.
Andy Crooks
8 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:14:34
A well put argument, Lyndon, but I disagree to some extent. Is it really such a mighty step to have kept Rodwell and bring in a couple of new players? To me, anything other than disquiet over this sale is to endorse Kenwright. Yes, a good deal under the circumstances but we are, in my view, a little too tolerant of the "circumstances".
James Morgan
9 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:16:20
Totally agree, Lyndon.
Without his injury problems we could have perhaps commanded and extra 5 million up front but I'm not losing sleep over it.
It seems our first choice centre pair are now Gibson and Fellaini followed by Osman, Barkley and Cisco. Arguably stronger than United's centre midfield of Scholes, Carrick, Anderson, Fletcher and Kagawa, wouldn't you agree?
Scholes is very much a spent force although capable of the odd piece of magic, Carrick is a reliable enforcer and a good enough to be a mainstay for Fergie, never really rated Anderson, Fletcher is barely fit these days and Kagawa is unproven in the Prem although he could be a very good signing.
Obviously they could still add before Monday but I would prefer Gibson and Fellaini over the best pair they could select from those above.
Matt Traynor
10 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:21:29
Good as far as you go Lyndon, but I feel bad about it because of the emerging realisation that we have been left so far behind.

There are, unsubstantiated, suggestions amongst various reports that Rodwell was indeed hesitant about the move, perhaps realising that chances may be limited even if the wages are 3 x more. Hodgson today was suggesting the core of England future may not be first choice in their teams.

What hope do we (or other teams) really have when an academy prospect moves to a bit-part role for 50% more than we pay our highest earner?

I'm beginning to get the disdain for the Man City "Project". Not only does their manager show the same lack of class in his comments as his predecessor, it seems they really don't give a shit about FFP as they've already decided they can get round it.

This is the team that has a strikeforce on an absolute fortune that it wants rid of, and being the mercenaries they are, are in limbo as no-one will take them. Adebayor laughably refusing to move even though City will subsidise his wages for 2 years, as it would mean he'd still be out-of-pocket for the last 2 years of his Spurs contract.

Of course, with their new training development being "non-relevant expense", that's a whole load off their cost figures that UEFA won't count.

Then, there's their commercial revenue leaving everyone behind. Apparently they have now EIGHT sponsors from Abu Dhabi- with Etihad being the Tier 1, the others are still pouring more cash in. And UEFA don't give a shit as it's all fresh money into the sport.

City aren't the only ones at it, but they are far and away the worst example, in the worst league. With our taxation system relative to other countries, we already have to pay players more than in other leagues just to keep their take-home the same.

Maybe it's post-Olympics realisation that football has lost its soul (I even found myself agreeing with Joey Barton's blog last night!), but as usual, even if we got sold tomorrow to the perfect owners, we've missed the boat. City made sure their 2010-11 largesse didn't count in the first round of FFP calculations. It seems their well-paid execs have found a way round everything else. Apart from signing RVP.

Paul Thompson
11 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:51:27
Not too worried about Rodwell going for reasons outlned by Lyndon. As Matt says,the depressing thing is the Man City destination and project. However, for a pro-Everton antidote to that lack of class try this from the Guardian - http://t.co/Mw3ZFl7F .
Nick Entwistle
12 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:45:34
Matt, we were left behind at the dawn of the Premiership. I wrote an article back in 2006 titled What is Success and said...

'Unfortunately this is our reality; all our possible glory this season is for the right for brief mid-week TV exposure the next.'

Get used to it. It stil remains the case.

Note Lyndon's comment. I'm still waiting for the ceremony.

Martin Mason
13 Posted 15/08/2012 at 22:00:00
I was very sorry to see Jack go but the more I look at it I see it as a perfect piece of business by the club and hopefully good for him too. 12 MM is real, Jack as a great player is only a possibility. His going has left us in a very exciting transfer window situation for the first time in years and hopefully we can also pay off some debt too. For me the club is doing a magnificent job within its financial constraints (as we have done since the turn of the year) and Jack's leaving was just how it has to be for us sad though it is.

It'll be very interesting to see how we start especially how we do against United but I'm really positive. I'm also extending my unpaid home leave and coming up from Horsham to see the game.

Lyndon Lloyd
14 Posted 15/08/2012 at 21:47:42
Matt: Good as far as you go Lyndon, but I feel bad about it because of the emerging realisation that we have been left so far behind.

Agree with every word, Matt. It's obviously difficult discussing anything to do with our club these days without addressing the obvious disparity that exists in the Premier League so it more or less goes without saying, as far as I'm concerned.

I've deliberately not gone into the financial controversies of our situation lest each article turn into a novel!

Suffice to say, yes, the whole situation is incredibly depressing, with no resolution in sight... apart from "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em".

Albert Perkins
15 Posted 15/08/2012 at 22:29:30
I wish Jack well. His sale opens up exciting possibilities, especially with this Mirallas. He looks to offer the same kind of direct, exciting stuff we got from Drenthe without the inconsistency. Moyes seems to be toploading the attack with new players and this could lead to less emphasis on defense as we push our opponents onto the back foot. Or am I just dreaming?
Ian Smitham
16 Posted 15/08/2012 at 22:49:00

Seeing your views on this thread, wondered if you might enhance the "overdraft" thread with your thoughts. Ian

Martin Mason
17 Posted 15/08/2012 at 23:06:24
Ian, I haven't seen that thread sorry but I'll have a look. Not sure if I can add but I'm sure I'll learn from it.
Keith Glazzard
18 Posted 15/08/2012 at 22:20:25
Lyndon - quite agree with you about Jack. Like everyone else in the universe, we don't know what's going to happen next, but he might as well have made this move as not. If DM gets a transfer kitty out of it, again, we don't know, but there are almost signs of optimism. At least Fellaini won't pass a medical for the next few weeks.

But something has come into the thread (via Matt Traynor) which I know a little about.

My work took me to Manchester 40 years ago. What was happening in Liverpool apart from football plus some music and the Tate Gallery, bits of City of Culture maybe, I knew next to nothing about - a Wirral blue you see, not wedded to the 'City'.

The City of Manchester put in two bids to host the Olympics. They got the Commonwealth Games and did it well, building the C of MC Stadium in the new 'Sports City' of Eastlands.

MCFC? There is no way they would have done this for themselves. They have been the beneficiaries of a well-organised forward thinking City Council. Of course, MUFC have nothing to do with them, being across the border in Trafford so no clash of interests. Perhaps this is significant.

Now I'm not saying that any city council should be promoting he interests of a privately owned business unless, perhaps, it could be demonstrated that this had a significant halo effect for employment and, in the end, increased revenue for the city itself. And, as I said, I know nothing about Liverpool and its council. But what MC City Council did, with no agenda to assist MCFC as far as I know, has had a massive effect for them, and has probably been good financially for the city as a whole.

What happened next - Shiniwara's money laundering and the Middle Eastlands 'project', Matt is quite right about. But the start came from, as it were, the 'city' itself. Its elected representatives and their executive officers going for the Olympics. Twice.

Mike Gaynes
19 Posted 16/08/2012 at 01:50:22
Well said, Lyndon. My pessimistic view is that we'll never know what Jack could have been... and neither will Jack. I predict he'll spend a few years at City with barely a sniff of the field and then be quietly packed off to West Ham or Boro to try to rebuild his career in his mid-20s. I honestly hope I'm wrong I'd really like to see the young man succeed but I don't expect him to have a significant impact in Mancini's program at all.

And if any of these rumored signings happen, and Barkley or Francisco Junior step up as hoped, this 12-17 million for Rodwell will indeed be a fine bit of business for Moyes and BK.

Matt Garen
20 Posted 16/08/2012 at 06:51:43
If Gareth Barry can get a game at city, then so can Jack Rodwell. Good deal for both club and player. He wasn't going to be in the starting XI over Fellaini and Gibson so If selling Jack means we sign Niang and Mirallas on permanent deals for essentially the same money as we got in from city, its difficult to argue that isn't for the best.
Jon Ferguson
21 Posted 17/08/2012 at 19:00:29
I would have loved for Rodwell to have stayed and been a success at this club but there are 3 reasons why I think this was a great deal for us.

1) Rodwell has had a poor injury record and has never got into his stride playing for us. Turning down the cash and then being stuck with a player who spends his career injured is untenable in our financial situation. He has showed glimpses of class when not injured, but he is far from world class right now.

2) We have a good homegrown youngster in the same position in order to put our regional hopes into. It would have been great to see a home grown midfield of Rodwell and Barkley, but at least we still have the younger (and higher rated) of the two to develop into a first teamer.

3) The players we are being linked with as a result of the sale look exciting. We have needed a pacey winger since...... probably Kanchelskis (Arteta played there for a while but was always more of a centre mid). If this winger and striker come in, we will have a better balance squad with genuine options up front.

All in all I wish Jack well in his career and fingers crossed the money is spent wisely.

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