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FAN FOCUS: Getting To Know Jack Rodwell

Just what are we getting in Jack Rodwell? We asked our friend Danny Pugsley from SB Nation neighbours 'Bitter and Blue' to give us the Manchester City perspective on Sunderland's latest acquisition from the Premier League champions. (We previously spoke to Danny following on from the signing of Costel Pantilimon, which you can find here.)

Richard Heathcote

Danny – have you got a crystal ball? Last time we spoke you suggested that Rodwell might be a player we’d go for….

Yeah, I did think he would be a good fit for both sides, but have to admit I would have expected a loan move. This would have allowed City the opportunity to get a fit Rodwell regular and meaningful minutes that would be difficult at City.

A permanent move then was a bit of a surprise initially, but on the whole it does make sense.

Just what are Sunderland getting in the shape of Jack Rodwell, then?

Either a talented young midfielder capable of playing regularly for England (which is what City anticipated) or a player perpetually injured clearly short on confidence (which is what City got).

He’s obviously a good player but would it be fair to say he’s suffered because of his injury record at City or do you think he just never got a chance to prove himself?

I think the injuries were the issue first and foremost.

Obviously it was going to be difficult for him to break into the side regularly considering the players at the club, but who knows, if he had stayed fit they may not have needed a Fernandinho or Fernando.

To suggest City 'ruined' him (as I've seen) is unfair.

Do you think his issues with hamstring injuries are behind him now?

I don't think we'll know that for some time.

Certain players who are troubled early do 'grow' out of these issues, whereas others are seemingly plagued throughout their careers. The hope would be his body matures fully and the more he plays the stronger he gets, which keeps him injury free.

The rumour is that we’re only paying around ten million quid for him, which in my opinion isn’t bad given the fact he’s young, English and talented which, in most situations, usually means the buying fee becomes inflated by the selling club.

Would you say that’s a good piece of business from Manchester City or do you think they maybe could have gotten a little more for him had they tried?

I think it is very good business from City's perspective, and to get that fee is a big reason why they have sold rather than loaned him.

City will almost recoup what they paid for him which is a surprise, for a player who has barely featured and has such a chronic injury history.

That said, (and it's a big if) if he does go on to be the player many predicted it will provide an excellent signing.

Where would you say his best position was?

He’s typically been a deployed as a defensive midfielder or a box-to-box player throughout his career but we’ve already got two holding players at the club so it would seem he might be coming in to play a little higher up the pitch….

From the little we have seen he looked best when given freedom to drive forward and contribute to the attack.

When playing as a purely defensive midfield he did look inhibited. Hopefully then he will get an opportunity further forward.

What positives will Jack Rodwell bring to Sunderland’s team?

Youth, an energy and drive to his play that saw him picked for England and star at Everton at such a young age.

And the negatives….

That he cannot shake off his injury issues and you pay £10m for a player who makes a handful of appearances before you cut your losses.

Finally – how do you think Rodwell and his time at Man City will be ultimately be remembered?

Filed very much under 'What might have been'. Having barely played he will unfortunately go down as an injury-plagued mistake.

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