Peter Reid says English players should take note of Jack Rodwell’s decline and shun big-money transfers in favour of first-team football.
Sunderland midfielder Rodwell was lauded as one of England’s best young talents while at Everton, but his career has gone backwards since moving to Manchester City in 2012.
The 24-year-old has since moved to Sunderland, but is yet to regain the form which saw him win three England caps.
“Footballers have to play, it’s all about time on the pitch. You can have top players, great coaches but the best players reach the top through playing regularly,” said Reid, who played for England 13 times.
“It’s relevant to every young footballer. Get out there, be with a team where you are going to play, it’s as simple as that.
“Jack came up through the ranks at Everton, everyone was suitably impressed and he was a huge talent. Strong, good on the ball and an excellent prospect.
“Fair play to him, he backed himself to go to City. There’s a few English lads who went to City and it didn’t work. Scott Sinclair is another one.
“I can understand them going to City. It’s a great club, great set-up and you can win trophies. But you can’t if you’re not playing. And that’s the problem.
“Now he has gone to Sunderland and he’s still not playing. What is that telling you?”
Rodwell’s made his England debut four years ago today in a surprise win over then world champions Spain.
His performance that night prompted Fabio Capello to admit: “I knew him but I never thought a player so young, on his first exhibition, could be so ready, so good to play at this level.
“He will be very important for many years to come.”
A year later he joined City in a £12million transfer, but went on to make only 10 starts in two years at the Etihad.
It was suggested his move to Wearside would revitalise his career and result in a return to the England squad, but injuries have hampered his progress and Tottenham trio Ryan Mason, Dele Alli and Eric Dier have now overtaken Rodwell in the pecking order.
And Reid is adamant English players need to be playing first-team football, no matter what level.
“Some players have come in, worked hard and succeeded. Others need to work harder. For me, it’s all about hard work and desire,” he told the Mirror.
“Jamie Vardy is a brilliant example. It didn’t work for him early in his career, he went through non-league, kept working, kept going and was playing every week, albeit at a lower level.
“But he worked his way up through hard graft. It’s absolutely brilliant. He has worked so hard and, believe me, as a manager you’d take that from a player every time.
“All the technical ability in the world is nothing without the right attitude. For all the technical ability, you have to have desire and desire comes from within.
“I’m not sure you can coach that or something into Vardy that he never gives up, never stops running at defenders and it’s clear all he wants to do is play football. He’s a great example for everyone.”
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