Jack loves life on Goodison island
Midfielder Jack Rodwell admits he was flattered by reported interest from Manchester United but never had any intention of leaving Everton. The 19-year-old has signed a new five-year contract, only 15 months after agreeing his first major deal with the Toffees. That will keep him out of the clutches of a number of top Premier League clubs who were casting admiring glances at the teenager. But Rodwell, who has been at Everton since he was seven, has always been happy at Goodison Park and intends to repay the club's faith in him. "It is a brilliant day for me. I've been at this club a long time and to sign a new five-year deal is amazing," said the teenager, who had a trial with Liverpool aged six only to be told to come back in a year's time. "I went on a trial at Liverpool when I was six and they asked me to come back a year later but Everton came knocking and I haven't looked back. "I've been with Everton since I was seven and at that age you don't really think about the first team. "It is only about 16 when you think you start to realise you might have a shot. To play for them is an honour, to get this contract is even better. "I have been happy at this club ever since so when I got offered a five-year contract I was delighted to sign. "It is flattering, obviously, because to be linked with clubs like United is an honour but I'm perfectly happy to be here and it is a great club. "I've kept calm and just focused on my football day to day. I trained hard and played hard and knew everything would take care of itself. "I've not had major discussions over it (the new contract), it has not been an issue. I've just got my head down and played my football." Rodwell made his full Everton debut as a substitute against AZ Alkmaar at the age of just 16 years and 284 days in December 2007 to become the youngest Everton player to play in Europe, although his record was subsequently beaten by Jake Bidwell last December. His Barclays Premier League bow came in March 2008 when he made a substitute appearance at Sunderland and since then he has developed into a first-team regular. By manager David Moyes' own admission he was forced to play Rodwell more than he wanted to at the start of this season because of crippling injury problems. But that had an impact on the youngster as he then became injured and could not get back into the side. Having signed his new contract Rodwell is determined to force his way into the starting line-up for next season and become established in the first team. "I've always had the belief in myself," added the England Under-21 international. "I'm not surprised [by my progression]. I've done well and although I wouldn't want to put too much pressure on myself there is a lot more to come. "I'm my own player and would like to build my own game naturally as it comes within the next few years as I've got my own style. "The main thing now is for me to become a regular and things like goals and assists will be a bonus." While Rodwell has followed the example set by midfielder Tim Cahill and fellow youngster Seamus Coleman in signing long-term deals the future of Steven Pienaar seems less sure. The South Africa midfielder has a year left on his contract and is holding out for a better offer from the club before deciding on his next course of action. Pienaar has said he has been disappointed not to have heard from Everton since he rejected their latest offer a fortnight ago. However, Everton have pointed out Pienaar is about to play in a World Cup in his home country and so further discussions are not likely to take place now until mid-July when the tournament has finished.
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