Everton tie Jack Rodwell to fiveyear deal at Goodison Park

19 February 2009 02:47
The talented 17-year-old midfielder is now committed to the club until 2014.

The completion of negotiations sees Rodwell sign his first long-term senior contract before his 18th birthday next month, capping a remarkable rise which saw the former England under-16 captain score his first senior goal in Sunday's 3-1 FA Cup win over Aston Villa.

Securing the long-term future of one of the country's brightest young stars is a major coup for Everton, especially with both Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson keenly tracking his progress.

Sources at Goodison Park insist no formal bids were lodged but acknowledge Everton knew the game's giants would pounce if they stalled.

Rodwell's impact has been eye-catching in recent weeks, serving with distinction in both FA Cup derbies with Liverpool and most recently against Martin O'Neill's side.

"We talk to the young players, try to help them because we know how much talent they have," his midfield partner Mikel Arteta said.

"When you have got talent, the rest will come. Now Jack and Dan Gosling have got to keep producing great performances."

There seems no reason to suggest otherwise. Rodwell has shone for England's junior teams and further honours will surely follow.

He has slotted seamlessly into the battleground that passes for a Premier League midfield, and his height, bravery and technique all suggest Everton manager David Moyes might have been right when he suggested that Rodwell could follow Rio Ferdinand by moving into defence as he matures.

A product of the club's Academy, Rodwell has made 13 appearances this season including seven starts.

Source: Telegraph