Rodwell ready to shine for Everton

Jack Rodwell has insisted he is finally ready to step up for club and country this season.

Rodwell with the cross...

Rodwell has urged Everton boss David Moyes to give him the chance to show he can fill the void left by Mikel Arteta, while he is also dreaming of following the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Danny Welbeck into the England senior squad.

Rodwell had a season to forget last term, with injury and a loss of form seeing him fail to live up to the expectations that repeatedly saw him linked with a move to Manchester United.

But with Arteta having been sold to Arsenal this week, the 20-year-old accepts now is the time for him to start fulfilling his vast potential.

"I think this is the season for me," said the midfielder, who helped England Under-21s thrash Azerbaijan on Thursday night in their opening European Championship qualifier.

"Last season was frustrating for me. I had a lot of injuries and couldn't really get a pattern of football going and I wasn't really fit.

"But hopefully that won't happen this season and I can stay fit and I can get back-to-back games."

There are fears cash-strapped Everton will struggle without star midfielder Arteta.

Rodwell, who watched the Spaniard's transfer saga unfold on Wednesday night, said: "He's a great player. He's a good lad as well. He'll be sorely missed.

"But it's a good opportunity for him, so we'll all wish him the best.

"He will be a miss but we've got a lot of young players who can fill in."

But is Rodwell ready to be that man?

"Yeah, definitely. If I'm asked to," he said.

"I'm ready now. I feel fit, I feel sharp and focused."

Rodwell also hopes getting back to his best will ultimately lead to a senior England call-up.

"We all want to play for the seniors, so it starts here," said Rodwell, who is still in touch with former Under-21 team-mates Jones, Smalling and Welbeck following their step up.

"I still speak to them on a regular basis and we are pleased for them.

"They have all done well at Man United and their respective clubs, so we wish them the best of luck."

Rodwell is one of few players from England's dismal Under-21 Championship campaign this summer left in the squad, amid the biennial turnover of players that accompanies age-grade international football.

"It's a new set of lads, new squad, fresh faces," said Rodwell after Thursday night's 6-0 Group Eight win.

"There's a lot of young lads now.

"I remember coming in as a 17-year-old and looking up to all the older players.

"But it's a bit of a role reversal now. There are a few 17-year-olds here in the squad."

He added: "They need guidance.

"It's a lot of lads' first time in the 21s, so it's nice to welcome them in."

Rodwell also welcomed Everton's deadline-day signings, with Real Madrid midfielder Royston Drenthe and Argentinian striker Denis Stracqualursi joining on loan.

Tigre star Stracqualursi is a relative unknown in Europe but Rodwell said: "I think he scored a hat-trick against Boca Juniors, so hopefully he can get us a few goals.

"And obviously Drenthe from Madrid - hopefully he can do the business.

"He will know Johnny Heitinga so will probably have spoken to him about Everton.

"Hopefully they will both be good for us."

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