Captain Jack earns stripes
Wednesday, 11 August, 2010
Rodwell puts in an impressive performance against Uzbekistan.
England Under-21s skipper Jack Rodwell praised his team-mates after a hard-fought, yet well deserved victory over Uzbekistan at Ashton Gate on Tuesday night.
Playing in central midfield, the young Everton star was heavily involved in the action against a side that was unfamiliar to Stuart Pearce's men, but he was pleased with how the side stuck to their task to eventually run out 2-0 winners.
"As a squad we didn't really know a lot about Uzbekistan and we only had a day to prepare for the game so we were a little bit anonymous to knowing what they were going to do," Rodwell told TheFA.com after the game.
"We did our job well, set our formation and stuck to it. In the first half they were hard to break down and it was a case of getting that first goal."
Wearing the captain's armband for the first time, Rodwell rose to the occasion admirably and was instrumental in maintaining England's discipline and creativity in the middle of the park, as Danny Rose and Martin Kelly grabbed the goals.
Rodwell, however, put his own assured performance down to the opportunities he has been afforded at club level.
"To get Premier League experience at such a young age has made my game improve leaps and bounds in the last couple of years," said the 19-year-old. "Hopefully this season I can get a few more games and whatever else happens internationally it's a bonus."
There has already been media speculation that Rodwell will be one of the new generation of England players to take the next step into Fabio Capello's Senior squad. But even with Capello in the stands looking on, any such talk is falling deaf ears with Rodwell.
"There's been talk of me making the step up to the Seniors, but that's never been in my mind. The lads played well [against Uzbekistan] and there's a good set of lads there with a lot more to come in.
“I think there's a lot of opportunity for the young English talent to break through, definitely.
"As a kid you dream of playing in the England shirt and every time you put it on you look to progress as a player and also as a team, so it's good to do it in front of the Manager as well.
"It's all about the team performance, though, because we're coming off the back of a bad result against Greece.
“We have two major Qualifiers coming up next month, so it was good to get a good performance in [against Uzbekistan] and the confidence back in the squad."