Jack happy to be back
By Jamie Bradbury
Friday, 12 October, 2012
Jack Rodwell is looking for victory over Serbia in his first Under-21s game for a year
Jack Rodwell is hoping to burst back on to the international scene on Friday night to help England Under-21s edge closer to the Euro 2013 Finals.
The Manchester City midfielder has missed a lot of football during the last few months following a series of niggling hamstring problems. He now says he’s feeling fully fit and is looking forward to his first appearance for Stuart Pearce’s men since October last year.
And as England prepare to meet Serbia in their play-off clash in Norwich on Friday evening, Rodwell is targeting a first leg advantage to take with them on their travels on Tuesday.
“To be involved in the international scene is brilliant,” Rodwell told TheFA.com. “We’ve got two big games now that we need to win and we’re all focused and ready. I’m enjoying being back.
“It’s a year since I last played and there’s been a few new players coming in, but the feel around the camp is pretty similar. I feel at home again so really happy to be here.
“I’ve slotted in nicely again and it’s great to see all the players and staff here. Our main focus is two wins and to get to the Finals next summer.”
He added: “Last season I was haunted with a few hamstring injuries but that’s behind me now. It’s been a good eight weeks now that I feel I’ve been flying so I’m feeling good.”
However, Rodwell has bad memories of a previous encounter with the Serbians.
During an U19s UEFA qualifying group in Northern Ireland four years ago, a Young Lions side featuring the former Everton man had already made it the next stage of the competition.
And it was the Serbian team who triumphed in emphatic style to top the table. Now Rodwell, who was one of four members of this Under-21s squad involved that night, wants to get them back.
“I remember we were beaten 4-1 and I played centre-half. It wasn’t a great night, but there’s a few of the players from that game still in this squad so we’ll have to get one back over Serbia.
“They were really physical and very well organised. It wasn’t a fore-gone conclusion, though, and I think 4-1 was a bit flattering for them.
“But they got the result and it doesn’t look good on our record so we have to be at our best, be solid and get the result.”
Rodwell also hopes that the local Norfolk crowd can get behind the England team and spur them on to victory, as they did at the same stage of qualifying for the Euros two years ago.
That night Pearce’s boys beat Romania 2-1 in the first leg at Carrow Road before holding out for a 0-0 draw away to reach the Finals in Denmark and the 21-year-old has his sights set on a similar outcome.
“It was a great atmosphere two years ago, if the fans can emulate that and we can repeat the result it’ll be a good night for us.
“This is going to be a very tough game. Serbia are unbeaten so we’ve got to go out for the win and we’re going to try and get as many goals as possible to take to the away leg on Tuesday.”
Tickets for the game are still on sale priced at £5 for children and £10 for adults. To order online, click here