DO you remember somebody called Jack Rodwell?
Oh go on, you must do. Promising young midfielder. Used to play for Everton. Had a couple of games for England. Moved to Manchester City for a fair whack.
Not that you’d be forgiven for having allowed Rodwell to slip your mind.
When City visit Goodison for Saturday’s early kick-off, it’s no surprise the former Blue will be anywhere but on the field of play.
Such has been his fortune with injuries since breaking into the Everton first team as a 16-year-old back in December 2007.
Rodwell was being tipped as a star of the future. But, for whatever reason, it just hasn’t happened, the youngster is still more potential than actual end product.
Roberto Mancini saw the potential that David Moyes had spotted when Rodwell began making an impression in Everton’s Academy.
It’s why City splashed out £15million in the summer having monitored the player for the best part of two years.
Rodwell, though, has struggled. His Champions League debut as an early substitute against Borussia Dortmund in October was a baptism of fire (he hasn’t appeared in the competition again since) and hopes of a lengthy spell in the team were dashed last week when he limped off 25 minutes into the win at Aston Villa. It was only a fourth start since moving to City, with the midfielder making a further seven substitute appearances.
To think it was only 15 months ago that Rodwell was making such an encouraging impact on his first England call-up in the friendly double header against World Champions Spain and Sweden. On the face of it, that £15m now looks good business from Everton, not least as Rodwell’s injury concerns had dogged him for much of the previous campaign.
Indeed, it’s incredible to think it is now more than three years since the youngster left his major calling card of that solo effort in the win over Manchester United.
But, as with the sale of Mikel Arteta, the message it sent out wasn’t the most reassuring from the club. That, though, has been the Everton way for some time.
Certainly, Everton would have benefited from a fit Rodwell for much of the campaign, not least on Saturday and their dismal, dire, destructive FA Cup exit against Wigan Athletic.
Having only turned 22 in January, there remains plenty of time on Rodwell’s side. And those have witnessed his progress from those first steps in Alkmaar will want him to succeed.
But Rodwell may be one of several players to have fallen foul of the propensity to over-coach players.
Let me explain. Since being introduced across the country, the Academy system has produced a succession of talents capable of cutting it at Premier League level and, as is the case with Rodwell, able to make the final step up to the England side.
But Rodwell is in danger of becoming one of very similar players to develop from the same rigid template.
Indeed, the coach who said he would sooner have a player scoring nine and 10 out of 10 on a few aspects of his game and five or six in others, rather than a consistent seven or eights across the board, is not alone.
Such encouraging consistency, though, is what Everton could do with right now.