Western Sydney Wanderers trialist Jack Rodwell has been given a glowing endorsement by coach Carl Robinson, saying that the midfielder has been ‘a breath of fresh air’.
Despite concerns surrounding the former Everton, Manchester City and Sunderland player’s attitude and personality, Robinson told Kick360 that he was highly impressed with the midfielder’s conduct in training.
“Jack’s a super bloke, which I knew before. I invited him in, he’s come and train with us for a week. He’s been top drawer, top level. People who don’t know Jack, when I say about being professional and fully committed to his craft – which is playing football – he’s been a breath of fresh air. We know he’s got the pedigree, we know he’s got the history of playing, he’s played at the highest level there is in football and it’s really nice to see him on the training field.”
“What am I going to do with him? To be continued…” was the cryptic reply from the Welshman when asked if the three-time international could find a permanent home in Western Sydney.
With the season just around the corner, Robinson also spoke candidly about the pro’s and con’s of the tactical set up last season, and where the Wanderers need to improve on the pitch.
“Everyone says last year we went with a back five, when we went with a back three which predominantly goes into a back five. We went with two attacking players and a diamond in midfield, we didn’t play with wingers. People say ‘we don’t attack’ but we scored the highest amount of goals in the club’s history, so we clearly did attack but what we didn’t do is defend correctly, and that might have been because we had a back five!
“Sometimes the more people you have at the back, the more problems occur which obviously leads to a different dynamic in games, you’ve got to be able to defend in those situations whether it’s in front of you, behind you or down the sides.”
Robinson and the Wanderers were criticised last season for a perceived lack of flexibility in their shape, which is something their coach has been keen to amend this time around.
“There’s different parameters that matter to a manager when he’s setting up his formation. Will we see different things this year, yes. What we need to be is tactically flexible, and we will be, we’ve got the personnel now that we’re able to adjust from a three to a four. We’ve seen that in pre-season, we’ve not played in the same formation twice, but I’ve got the players in the right position to make them successful.”
There has been much optimism surrounding the Wanderers this season, with a raft of new signings that have benefitted from having a whole pre-season to train and gel with the team. Compared to last season’s chaos, Robinson has enjoyed the settled pre-season and the time he’s had to work with the new recruits.
“It’s been a lot better. This year, they’ve been in from day one in pre-season. I’ve had five, six, seven new players in, which I’ve identified have the fabric of the Western Sydney Wanderers and the DNA of the football club. And I’ve had them for 9-10 weeks – some have been here for 14 weeks – and its been long, but it helps the manager in continuity. It certainly helps relationships on the field and bonding off the field.
“We’re in a better place this year than we were last year, now comes the fun part, which is playing the games.”
Image Source: Western Sydney Wanderers