DAVID MOYES has tipped Jack Rodwell to become as potent a goal threat for Everton as Tim Cahill.
The Everton boss believes that the teenager’s conversion to an attacking midfielder has been so successful, he could even prove an eventual threat to the Aussie’s starting place.
It is no small compliment from the Goodison boss, who rates Cahill, with 57 goals in Royal Blue, as one of his greatest ever signings.
But Moyes warned that for now Rodwell, who scored against Huddersfield in the Carling Cup on Wednesday, may have to bide his time.
He said: “He’s probably more of a threat at the top end of the pitch where he could threaten the likes of Tim Cahill because he looks like he can run, come in from deep and score.
“It’s a while since we’ve had someone at Everton who can score from shots outside the box and I think Jack can do that as well.
“He’s got a smell for a goal a wee bit. He’s doing well going forward, but it’s been difficult to accommodate him because we’ve got a big selection of midfield players.
“We’ve talked about Fellaini, and we’ve got Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill. We might need to find a role for Jack, or he may have to bide his time and get through when he can.”
Moyes admits he was forced to play Rodwell more than he intended to last season due to the well-documented injury crisis.
He said: “I played Jack in the opening 10 or 15 games last year, and really he was probably the shining player for us because we didn’t have a lot at the time.
“But in truth I probably shouldn’t have been putting him in so often. I didn’t have anyone else and I probably overplayed him.
“Since then he’s matured no end. He’s come on a ton and bits of his game have sharpened. Physically he’s much stronger. He always had good composure on the ball.
“And I think we’ve also realised he’s not ready to be an out and out defensive midfield player like we’ve talked about yet.”
Meanwhile, Moyes is determined to be patient with Seamus Coleman as the Irish Under-21 international continues his development.
Coleman plenty of praise for his second-half showing in the victory over Huddersfield. But although Moyes understands why the defender has become a fans’ favourite, he stressed that there are areas of his defensive game that need to be honed.
He said: “The age of a player doesn’t matter, you should be looking at the last performance. If they are good enough and playing well enough, then I will put them in. It comes down to my decision.
“I thought Jack Rodwell played very well the other night. I thought Seamus, in the first half, was very poor. He gave away the goal and nearly led to another goal.
“But his performance in the second half improved. They are the things I have to tell the players and I told Seamus at half-time and his performance picked up no end in the second half. But Jack was solid all the way through.
“Seamus processed what was said to him at half-time and showed what he should have been doing, and he made sure he forced the winger to defend rather than him having to defend all the time in the second half.
“Seamus has a long-term future at Everton without a doubt. Whether it is on Sunday is a different matter.”
Moyes will be without his Nigerian contingent for the trip to Aston Villa – as Phil Neville continues his battle to overcome a foot problem.
Victor Anichebe, who has been missing since the start of the season because of a knee problem, has been joined on the sidelines by fellow internationals Joseph Yobo and Yakubu ahead of Sunday’s trip to Villa Park.