Midfield injury crisis opens door for Rodwell

The withdrawal of Steven Gerrard, Jack Wilshere and Tom Cleverley for England had fans cursing, but Manchester City's Jack Rodwell will surely have welcomed the news.

Football News: Jack Rodwell, Manchester City

When Rodwell burst on to the scene in 2008, few would have thought that he would have just two England caps to his name five years down the line.

The 17-year-old's confidence, dribbling skills and passing made him stand out from the crowd when he scored the winning goal against Sunderland on his Barclays Premier League debut.

Eye-catching performances over the next two years led to speculation that he could join Wayne Rooney in swapping Everton for Manchester United in a multi-million pound deal, but the transfer never happened.

Rodwell has struggled with injury throughout his career, breaking the 30-appearance mark just once - and earning two caps against Spain and Sweden despite his promising talent.

Aside from the 2009-10 season, he never really got an extended run in the first XI, with injury restricting him for months at a time during the rest of his spell on Merseyside, and it was the same story when he joined Manchester City last summer for £12million.

A niggling hamstring complaint sidelined the 22-year-old for large parts of the season and he ended the campaign with just six Premier League starts.

Rodwell spoke frankly about his first season at the Etihad Stadium last week, admitting: "I have a lot to prove to City fans, as they haven't seen the best of me yet."

He also has a lot to prove at international level too, but he will get his chance this week.

Gerrard and Wilshere ruled themselves out of contention in the build-up to the games and a calf injury to Cleverley meant Roy Hodgson took the surprise decision to call up Rodwell ahead of the likes of Gareth Barry and Scott Parker.

Hodgson now has only three recognised central midfielders to choose from for the games against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil.

Given that Frank Lampard is doubtful following his participation in Chelsea's end-of-season tour of the United States, Rodwell could well start alongside Michael Carrick at Wembley against the Republic on Wednesday night.

Rodwell scored a brace for City - his first goals for the club - in their season-ending loss to Norwich and his former Everton team-mate Phil Jagielka has been impressed with Rodwell's efforts in training since he joined up with the squad.

"I have kept an eye on Jack since he moved from Everton to City," the Everton captain said.

"He has struggled a little bit to get a regular place. He has picked up a few injuries, but he scored a couple of goals the other day and his confidence seems high.

"He's settled in here well. He has had a good training session today so hopefully he can get a few minutes over the course of the next few days and start pre-season for Man City flying.

"Hopefully he will get a chance now to get another cap and hopefully give the manager another little headache."

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