Blue Watch: Everton FC's Jack Rodwell is Sky's talk of the town
IT SEEMS as though the whole country is talking about Jack Rodwell this week.
On Monday night Stuart Pearce made wholesale changes to the England under 21 side playing over in Sweden and the Everton teenager was one of the beneficiaries. He got his first start in the tournament and made a big impression, not only with his equalising header in a 1-1 draw with Germany, but also for his all round performance.
Stories linking him with a move to Manchester United on the back of that game seem rather unlikely, given that everyone in football has been aware of Rodwell for absolutely ages. You can be almost certain that Sir Alex Ferguson's scouting network is quite sophisticated and that they don't first become aware of emerging English players when they appear for their country on Sky Sports.
On a similar vein, how optimistic are the agency handling Michael Owen that they think a glossy brochure can allay Premier League managers' concerns about pouring money into their client's capacious pockets?
Does anyone envisage Steve Round, for instance, storming into David Moyes' office with an open copy of 'Michael Owen Summer 2009' and demanding that Blues' boss "check out these pie charts"?
Everyone knows who Owen is and what he's all about. He was once one of the most dangerous goalscorers in Europe, but he's incredibly injury-prone and wasn't even deemed good enough to start against Aston Villa on the final game of last season - arguably the biggest match in Newcastle United's history.
The statistics show that when is fit he scores goals, but, like Louis Saha, you can never know when he's going to be ruled out next. His representatives would probably argue that these intermittent goalscoring cameos represent value for money, but there's a wider issue regarding how you build a team and a settled pattern of play when you never know whether your centre-forward is going to be available, never mind match fit.
No matter how persuasive the literature is, hopefully Everton aren't really tempted to take a punt on Owen, as is being rumoured. We need to be building for the future, with emerging, athletic talents such as Rodwell, not gambling thousands of pounds per week on the dodgy groins and hamstrings of players whose best days are well behind them.