What The Papers Say - 17 November
Saha and Rodwell feature in Thursday's round-up.
The views below are taken from the local and national newspapers and do not necessarily reflect those of Everton.
EVERTON FC striker Louis Saha has branded rumours that he is angling for a return to France with Paris Saint Germain as “nonsense.”
The Everton striker is out of contract at the end of the season, and reports have surfaced from his homeland linking him with big-spending PSG.
Saha, 33, was even quoted about the French giants, hinting that he would be open to a move to the Parc des Princes, but the former Manchester United forward has insisted it was rubbish.
Using hisTwitter account, he wrote: “It’s just nonsense about PSG stories.
“How lazy can be some journalists who are just trying to create rumours out of nothing.”
Saha, who has scored twice in seven appearances so far this term, was reported to have told RMC: “PSG would be a difficult proposition to refuse.
“PSG are a coherent team which is still under construction. They have an interesting project going on, though.
“It’s always an interesting idea to be part of a project like the one at Paris Saint-Germain.”
AFTER helping see off a Spanish platter before devouring some Swedes, Everton FC midfielder Jack Rodwell returns to his bread and butter at the weekend.
And the Everton midfielder acknowledges that only by continuing his impressive club form will the chance come to enjoy the just desserts of a place in next summer’s European Championships.
Not since Wayne Rooney has an Everton player made as immediate an impact in an England shirt as Rodwell has this week.
Called up by Fabio Capello on the strength of his improving form in central midfield for the Goodison outfit this season, the 20-year-old was a second-half substitute in the 1-0 win over Spain at Wembley on Saturday and started the similar triumph against Sweden four days later.
Such victories have been hard to come by for Rodwell at Everton in recent times, with David Moyes’s side having lost six of their last seven games to slump to 17th in the Premier League table and out of the Carling Cup.
They aim to arrest that slide when they entertain Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, with Rodwell hoping he and fellow England call-ups Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines can capitalise on a morale-boosting few days.
“We need a win,” admits Rodwell. “We’re lacking points at the moment. Hopefully I can take my confidence to the pitch for Everton. Jags and Bainesy played well too and we’ll be focused on three points against Wolves.
“The results we’ve had can happen when you’ve had a tough run of fixtures like we’ve had. We’ve had United, Liverpool and Chelsea back to back and the fixture list hasn’t been great to us, but we need to turn it around now.”
It has been a rollercoaster few months for Rodwell, whose regular slot following the departure of Mikel Arteta was briefly threatened by his ludicrous red card in the Merseyside derby.
Now the midfielder has been included by Capello in a list of players who will be “important” for the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine.
And while admitting it has been a “dream” week, the level-headed Everton youngster is, as ever, refusing to be carried away.
“Anything is possible but if not I’ll just keep working hard and trying for the next squad,” he says. “If it happens, I’m over the moon, and now I’m just going to do my best until the end of the season.
“I had a feeling I’d be starting on Monday but to get the actually call was amazing. A dream come true. The manager had a word with me, and said you’ll be playing in midfield, as one of the three, and I was so pleased to be able to get belief.
“It’s just been a dream, a week to remember. I love it. I just love playing and I’ve had a good season so far injury-wise. I’ve just been keeping fit and I’m happy to keep playing and playing, and getting happier and happier.
“You hope so but it’s a long way off and I can’t focus on that. It’s good to have them about and now we’ll all focus on the next game for Everton.”
Rodwell should have marked his full England debut with a goal, but headed against the post from an inviting position.
“I did think I’d scored, to be honest,” he admits. “As the ball came in from (Stewart) Downing I thought the defender was going to head it in front of me but obviously he missed it, and at the last minute I didn’t manage to get enough on it but it was one of those things.
“It would have made it the perfect evening, and I’ll probably be going over it all night and probably won’t be able to sleep, but I’ll have to take the positives that I was in the right position.
“I had the header in the first half, and a couple of snap shots in the second half and I was playing in a more advanced role so I’m glad I had a few chances. I had the licence to get forward so it was good.
“I took a knock as well in the first half but, all in all, I’m pleased with my performance.
“I play with Bainesy week in week out and he’s got a brilliant delivery, and he showed that again.”
Rodwell was employed in a more attacking role than often utilised at Everton, and he adds: “I definitely enjoyed it. Obviously it’s for the country and I’ll play anywhere. To get forward and get some shots off which I managed to do is exciting.
“With Phil Jones sitting, the manager asked me and Gareth Barry to get forward and get into the box which I managed to do.
“I have been playing box to box more for Everton as a two so I have felt comfortable in that position but I can play anywhere across the midfield.”
Having represented his country at various age levels, Rodwell has joined Jones, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Kyle Walker in progressing from under-21 to senior level.
And he adds: “There’s a bit of a difference there but it’s a step up again. It’s a different tempo to the game and I’m used to that with the under-21s so it has helped me in that way.
“But I’m just going to keep my feet on the ground, working hard and trying to play as well as I can for Everton and see what happens.”
Jack Rodwell says he feels "really comfortable" in his new England surroundings.
The Everton midfielder, 20, was one of the major successes from Fabio Capello's decision to give England's young guns a Euro 2012 audition in this week's friendly double-header.
Rodwell stepped up along with Phil Jones and Kyle Walker in the friendlies with Spain and Sweden to stake their claim in the senior England set-up.
It was a sudden transition for Rodwell, who has often struggled with injuries but impressed as a substitute against Spain and was then singled out by England boss Capello for his performance against Sweden.
But Rodwell, who has been a regular for England under-21s, insists that he has no doubt in his own mind that he is ready for the European Championships next summer.
Rodwell said: "As soon as I stepped through the door I have felt really comfortable and they have welcomed me in.
"I'm kind of used to the Under-21s. It's a bit of a difference there but it's a step up again. It's a different tempo to the game, and I'm used to that with the Under-21s, so it has helped me in that way.
"Of course, whichever age-group the country wants me to play for, I'm very happy to play. Personally, it was a dream come true to step on the pitch against Spain. It was my full debut against Sweden.
"If I can stay in and around the squad, I'm happy. The competition is healthy. It's good to have that.
"I'm just going to keep my feet on the ground, work hard and try to play as well as I can for Everton and see what happens."
England midfielder Gareth Barry believes the emergence of the young players such as Rodwell will give Capello and the squad a strong chance at next summer's Euros.
The disappointment of the 2010 World Cup has taught most not to get too carried away, but Barry still found it difficult not to get excited after impressive back-to-back wins over fellow finalists Spain and Sweden.
Barry said: "The confidence is there, the players are coming through now to give us more options and the manager will be very pleased with how these two games have gone and how the players have adapted by showing great confidence.
"Obviously you look at Spain and have to say they are a better team, but the fact we did beat them the other day shows that, on our day, we can beat anybody.
"I wouldn't say we go there thinking we are the best team in the tournament because we're not, but we do know we can beat anyone on the day.
"Everybody knows football and the way the Spain game went shows they are beatable, even though they have a fantastic team. We've not outplayed Spain or anything like that but the important thing was we've proved we can beat them.
"Everybody knows the way we qualified last time that the expectations went through the roof. We didn't concede many goals, flew through the group and played some good stuff and that's the way you need to perform, having that winning habit.
"At the minute we've got that, but we've got to try and take that all the way to the tournament."
It was only two years ago, after the 3-0 win against Belarus, that the mention of Jack Rodwell’s name prompted only silence and a look of utter confusion on the face of England manager Fabio Capello.
Perhaps it was the language barrier but, with the 2010 World Cup emerging on the horizon, it was not completely clear whether Capello even knew who Rodwell was.
The Everton midfielder’s name had to be repeated twice before a glimmer of recognition entered Capello’s eyes. “He’s in your squad?” the Italian eventually replied, a touch disbelievingly.
And for the following two years, while contemporaries such as Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs were given their chance, Rodwell remained uncapped and untried at senior international level.
It might explain why Rodwell’s first reaction to his call-up to the England squad last week was to suspect that he was the victim of a prank.
Capello, though, could not have been more serious after Tuesday’s win against Sweden when he singled out Rodwell as a “really interesting” player among a sudden extravagance of options for Euro 2012.
It concluded a week that Rodwell has described as “a dream” come true.Yet while there has been something refreshingly childlike in his obvious delight at achieving his first England caps, Rodwell has carried himself over the past week like a veteran of international football.
Adaptable on the pitch and grounded off it, he has been one of the big winners of this international get-together and can now look towards next summer with legitimate hope.
“The competition is healthy,” Rodwell said. “There are a lot of promising youngsters and hopefully we can keep pushing. If you are good enough you should play. No matter what age, I think the manager will see the quality of the player and will go from there. I’m just going to keep my feet on the ground, keep working hard and trying to play as well as I can for Everton.”
As he has demonstrated against both Spain and Sweden, the quality that should count in Rodwell’s favour is versatility. On Saturday, facing the World champions on his debut, he replaced Phil Jones in a shielding role in the front of the England defence to help see out victory.
On Tuesday, alongside Jones and Gareth Barry, he demonstrated an ability to break forward from midfield and provide support to Bobby Zamora as well as a genuine attacking threat. The one real blot was the chance he headed onto the post from the edge of the six-yard box. Another volley was deflected narrowly wide.
“Personally I felt like I did OK,” Rodwell said. “I’m pleased with my performance. I got into good positions. I felt like I should have scored the header.
“Nine out of 10 times I’ll put it in the back of net but I’ll take the positive that I got in the right position.
“With Phil Jones sitting, the manager asked me and Gareth Barry to get forward and get into the box. I got on the end of a couple of crosses.”
What really seems to have eased the arrival at senior international level of so many young players is the sudden emergence of a cluster of former England Under-21 team-mates.
As well as Rodwell, Joe Hart, James Milner, Adam Johnson and Theo Walcott have progressed from the team that reached the final of the 2009 European Championship.
“It’s a different tempo to the game and I’m used to that with the Under-21s so it has helped me in that way,” Rodwell said.
“We’ve had a good bond for a couple of years. As soon as I stepped through the door I have felt really comfortable and they have welcomed me in.”