Manchester City: Rodwell's Injury Nightmare Leaves Tough Decision for Mancini

Ian Rodgers@irodgers66World Football Staff WriterMarch 5, 2013

Another game, another injury. This really hasn't been a season to celebrate for Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell.

Again, a hamstring injury has curtailed the England international's hopes of cementing a place in Roberto Mancini's starting lineup.

The 21-year-old left the field after just 25 minutes during the 1-0 win at Aston Villa on Monday night, just three games after making his first-team return as a substitute in the 4-0 FA Cup win over Leeds United on Feb. 17. Rodwell almost marked that occasion with an immediate goal when he struck the crossbar with a header.

However, the midfielder's hamstring problems will be giving both the player and his manager some serious concern.

City boss Mancini voiced his disappointment to reporters after the match at Villa Park, but Rodwell's hamstring injury was not a new occurrence.

As recently as January, Mancini expressed his worries (Daily Mail) over Rodwell's hamstring problem, which had previously ruled him out for three months this season.

The youngster has only played 11 games for City since joining the club from Everton last summer in a £12 million deal that could rise to £17 million.

In the current circumstances, the Goodison Park club are unlikely to see any additional appearance-based finance, but their frustration will not hold a candle to that of Mancini.

The Italian told reporters at the time of Rodwell's signing in August:

“He is a good player who needs to improve to play at this level. But he is young. I think he’s a good player for our future."

Rodwell had previously been linked with a £25 million move from Goodison Park to Manchester United in March 2011, as The Sun reported, while an earlier reported deal had been for £10 million with Michael Carrick moving in the opposite direction, according to the same newspaper.

However, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson appeared to cool his interest in the midfielder and Mancini swooped last August. But the move has not worked out for either the City boss or Rodwell so far this season.

The midfielder made his debut for City on the opening day of the Premier League campaign in the win over Southampton, but he would make only five other appearances before his hamstring became problematic again in early October.

Ironically, after playing in City's victory over Chelsea nine days ago, Rodwell expressed his delight at being back in action to reporters and admitted he had questioned whether he would ever return to full fitness while he was playing for Everton (via The Mirror).

There is no doubting Rodwell's ability. He was touted as the next major star after Wayne Rooney at Everton during the early part of his career, and goals such as the one which helped to defeat Manchester United 3-1 in February 2010 helped bring him to the attention of such a luminary as Ferguson.

Rodwell was expected to make his mark in the 2010-2011 season for the Blues, but an ankle ligament injury kept him out of the side for three months and his burgeoning reputation was put to one side.

Rodwell earned his two England caps in friendly matches against Spain and Sweden in November 2011, but, again, injury has stymied his progress at both the international and club levels.

This is only Rodwell's first season at Manchester City, but such a long history of hamstring problems (via Daily Mail) is a particularly worrying trend for Mancini and his club.

Patience is a virtue, but it's never a comfortable one when a Premier League title defence and, potentially, your job are at stake.


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