Position: Defender/Defensive Midfielder
Date of Birth: March 11th 1991
Place of Birth: Liverpool, England
Previous Club(s): None
Rodwell has probably achieved more than anyone on the list at the time of writing (March 2008). From breaking into Everton’s team as a near-schoolboy to securing a semi-regular place at the age of 17, he’s always been ahead of the game. He’s captained England through every age group from Under-16s to Under-19s and is a fair shout to eventually do so for the Under-21s. For someone so clearly mature beyond his years on the pitch, that’s not a surprise.
His broad, imposing physique ensured he was not only noticed at youth level, but allowed him to dominate. Yet he’s not one of those physical specimens who dominates purely because of that. He’s an accomplished passer, tackler, has great fitness, and when he gets forward can compete for chances from set pieces. He even has impressive skill for a defensively minded player.
He hasn’t really settled on a position yet, being capable of lining up at centre-back or more towards the middle of the park. So far for Everton he’s played in midfield, so his immediate future appears to be there, but his versatility is an endearing trait to managers current and future. Having signed a long-term professional deal upon turning 17, and with a manager prepared to nurture his abilities, he’s in the right hands.
Everton’s thin squad meant that Rodwell started the season in the first team and has rarely relinquished a squad place at worst. Comfortably into double figures in league appearances, manager David Moyes has trusted him in some of the club’s biggest games, including two Merseyside derbies, neither of which Everton lost. He scored his first professional goal against Aston Villa with an instinctive tap-in from close range, and looks set to cement a regular squad place going forward.