JACK RODWELL says he is ready to hit top form for Everton and put the frustrations of the past twelve months firmly behind him.
The 20-year-old midfielder helped the Blues record a vital 3-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday, scoring his first goal of the season as David Moyes’ side climbed to 13th in the Premier League table.
Moyes had spoken last week about the need for Rodwell to step up his game and make the jump from young prospect to established first-teamer.
And having started all-but-one of Everton’s games this season, the England Under-21 star believes he is edging ever closer to top form following an indifferent campaign last time out.
“I feel like I’ve been stepping up all season,” Rodwell said. “Last season I couldn’t get a good run of form and a lot of games under my belt, so it’s good to get more back-to-back games.
“I feel more confident on the pitch and becoming more of a man. At 20 years old, I feel I am getting stronger now.
“The boss expects more of everyone, so I think his comments were fair. He’s always seen me as a young player, but I think what he’s saying is that I need to become one of the senior players now.
“I feel like a senior player. I’ve made more than 100 appearances now, although not all of them were starts. I’ve been in the squad for the last three seasons now.”
Rodwell’s 93rd minute strike at Craven Cottage sealed a first win in four games for Everton, after a battling performance.
Bryan Ruiz looked to have grabbed a point for Martin Jol’s men after Royston Drenthe’s early goal but, after a woeful Bobby Zamora miss, substitute Louis Saha’s first goal of the campaign sent the travelling Blues into raptures before Rodwell added the icing to the cake.
“It was vital that we won,” admitted Rodwell. “The lads are all behind each other, we knew we needed a win and we put on a great team performance.
“When Bobby Zamora went around the keeper we all thought that it wasn’t going to be our day, but he managed to miss and we stayed in there and we got the three points.
He added: “Louis did really well. He come on and looked really sharp, and he went up top and we played off him a bit. Hopefully we can keep pushing forward.”
Everton take on Chelsea in the fourth round of the Carling Cup on Wednesday (26 October) at 8pm and tickets are still available. Prices start from £20 for adults and £10 for juniors. To buy your tickets visit evertonfc.com/ eticketing, call 0871 663 1878 or drop into the box office at Goodison Park.
As one of the original founder members of the Football League, Everton are a club steeped in history and tradition and have played more seasons in the top flight of English football than any other club. Their association with the greatest cup competition in the world has thus conjured some wonderful moments, and this offering from Sport Media celebrates a century of memories since their first FA Cup success in 1906. Celebrate a century of memories with 'Everton's FA Cup 100'. Read