Landon Donovan got a good look at Jack Rodwell during his 10-week loan stint at Everton and thinks what he saw is the future of the English national team.
During the MLS offseason, Donovan spent a few months in England, rejuvenating an injury-depleted Everton squad with a series of bright performances on the wing.
In training and in games, the United States international linked up with Rodwell, enough to declare the 19-year-old a future England world-beater.
“I think, along with Wayne Rooney, Jack really is the future of England,” Donovan said, according to the Daily Star.
With Euro 2012 qualifiers coming up, Rodwell's time could come sooner rather than later.
“Following England's World Cup campaign, I know the coach is being urged to bring through young blood. I really believe Jack could rejuvenate this England team.
“I don’t give out false praise but this young guy really is a future world-beater. I am sure he can make the same impact for club and country that Wayne and David [Becham] have – that’s really how good he is.
“I have obviously trained and played with him at Everton and he is just a natural football player. Like Wayne it’s effortless to him.”
The 29-year-old American has gone on record saying that the only English club he will play for is Everton after how affectionately the fans took to him during his loan spell. Similarly, Donovan sees the same sort of loyalty in Rodwell.
“He is a down-to-earth guy who genuinely loves his club,” Donovan said. “I was so pleased to hear he had signed a five-year contract and I think he is the sort of guy who will honor it unless Everton receive an offer they deem so good they can't turn it down.”
Donovan believes Rodwell can start contributing now. With only two goals last season, the youngster has a long way to go before he can carry Everton's offense.
“I expect a lot of goals from him. I think he will be one of the players of the season,” Donovan declared. “If he hits form I really think it’s impossible to rule Everton out of a top-four finish.
“Like Wayne, he has no fear and I feel he is already ready to play at the highest level. Long-term I am sure Sir Alex has an eye on him and, not only could he be a future Manchester United player, he could be their future Wayne Rooney. That’s how highly I rate him.”
Beyond just Rooney, Donovan ranks Rodwell as among the biggest young talents in Europe.
“He is the most exciting young player in the Premier League and, with Alexandre Pato at AC Milan and Atletico Madrid’s Sergio Aguero, one of the most exciting in Europe.
“He can be a huge player for both club and country.”
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