Scott Parker's career carries a warning for Jack Rodwell
When I heard the news that Jack Rodwell had committed to leaving Everton for a berth at Manchester City, the news gave that odd feeling of deja vu. Pondering for a few minutes I realised why - Rodwell in 2012 has clear echoes of Scott Parker in 2004.
In 2004 Parker was a very talented, young English central midfielder on the fringes of the national squad - and a fixture with a middle ranking Premier League club. In Parker's case it was Charlton Athletic who were a solid Premier League team back in 2004.
Parker took the route to Chelsea just as the Blues were beginning to pile up a huge amount of talent and go on to take successive titles. Undoubtedly, Chelsea had the biggest war chest and paid the best wages seven years ago.
In 2012 it's City with the squad stuffed with international talent and shedloads of cash to throw around - but the same question hangs over Rodwell as it did Parker - how many games will he play and will it help his England prospects?
Scott Parker only played 15 times for Chelsea and within a relatively short space of time he found himself at Newcastle - in theory, another big club but one going through several dysfunctional seasons. The net results was Parker became peripheral to the England set up.
His next move was to West Ham and credit the player because what could have been a move down the pecking order became the making of his career - winning Footballer of the Year in a relegated side is some effort. Eventually he forced his way into the England set up and started every game at Euro 2012.
But did it need to be such a long route? And will Rodwell find it as hard to get games in City blue?
Both players embody typical British midfield characteristics; box-to-box energy, defensive resilience and strong tackling. What neither has though is the deftest first touch around.
In Parker's case this meant that invariably in big games, where keeping the ball is the key attribute, he wasn't risked at Chelsea, and the same could become true of Rodwell under the famously hardline Roberto Mancini.
Adam Johnson has already found out what a hard taskmaster Mancini is and with skilled technicians like Yaya Toure and Nigel De Jong around and the likes of Nasri, Silva, Barry and Milner to call on, a central midfield berth will be tough to hold down.
The counter-argument is that young players need to test themselves with the best and no doubt Rodwell has the confidence to battle for his place. Unfortunately, injury problems have meant that his outings for Everton have been limited and there is the feeling that this move might be a season too early.
Though Everton fans would like to have kept him, the background mood is that the Goodison club have done good business in the market this summer and pocketed a hefty fee for a player of promise but with a record of fragile hamstrings.
Hopefully, Jack Rodwell will get a run of games with Manchester City rather than appearing mainly from the bench, or for contests against the division's lower ranking clubs on weekends after Champions League match days.
Calling all Manchester City fans: What are your views on the signing of Rodwell? Do you think he has what it takes to break into the first team this season? How mant games do you think he will start? Can he realise his full potential at Eastlands or has he made the same mistake Parker made eight years ago? Whatever your view, we'd love to hear from you.
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