Sunderland’s summer signing Jack Rodwell promises a lot of hope since he is expected to get much better than in the last few years due to the regular football he will be getting in the north-east. The former Everton man moved to Sunderland in a £ 10 million deal from Manchester City. This move was seen crucial not only for his club’s prospects but also for his re-entry into the England national team. Once regarded as a great potential, Rodwell has failed to progress in the last few years due to a combination of injuries and intense competition for places at City.
After recently managing to score his first goal for his new club, Rodwell says that he is just starting to get better. He has also sent a warning to the other Premier League teams saying that once he reaches full fitness, he will be back to his best. The midfielder has made eight appearances for the black cats and has scored one goal. A recent dip in form, though, saw him return back to the bench against Stoke, but this lack of action is expected to be only a temporary incident. Sunderland’s inability to get results is likely to see Rodwell return back to the first-team.
“I’m definitely getting there and I should be properly ready by the time the next game comes around. The first few games, you’re just feeling your way in and getting your fitness – I still am. But I am feeling better each game, and, after the international break, hopefully I will be back to 100 per cent. I got to start three games in a week, with the matches against Burnley, Stoke and Swansea. I’m happy with the progress and I know I’m getting there,” said the midfielder, who has three caps for the England national team.
Kolo Toure was highly expected to move away from Liverpool after just 12 months after the club. The Merseyside outfit received several offers for the Ivory Coast international during the last transfer window, but Toure rejected those opportunities in favour of staying at Anfield. He is aware that Brendan Rodgers does not see him as the central defender alongside Martin Skrtel, but the former Manchester City and Arsenal defender is prepared to wait for his time in the first-team. Toure was utilised on several occasions last season after coming on a free transfer from City.
However, several mistakes towards the end of the season meant that Rodgers started seeing Skrtel and Sakho as his first choice central defensive partnership. The departure of Daniel Agger this summer means that Toure is next in line to fill in the team if Skrtel or Sakho suffered injuries over the course of the campaign. Toure is aware of the fact that injuries will almost be unavoidable over the course of a long campaign. Liverpool will also have more number of matches due to the return of Champions League to Anfield. At 33 years of age, Toure is coming to the end of his career and will be looking to maximise most out of his playing time.
“The time I’ve spent at Liverpool already has been amazing for me. We had a great season and I’ve had a great time. You always want to be part of a great team and I hope this will be another great season for Liverpool Football Club. There are so many games this season with the four competitions that the manager needs depth. I am sure everyone will get chances at some point. The most important thing for me is what’s best for the team, it’s not about individuals,” said Toure.
Landon Donovan remains as one of the few North American players to have represented Bayern Munich. The German club are regarded as one of the biggest in the world and they have a huge fan following across the globe. Donovan is regarded as the best North American player to have come in the last few decades. His undoubted talent resulted in him playing in European leagues, albeit for a short period. The 32-year-old has largely been playing in the MLS for LA Galaxy.
His first stint in European football came with Bayer Leverkusen after he signed for the German club in 2004. This was after playing for the second string team for several years. He has also represented the likes of San Jose earthquakes on loan spells. His big move, though, came in 2009 when he moved to Bayern Munich on a loan spell. Even though the loan spell did not last long and he made only nine appearances for the Bavarians, it was a thoroughly enjoyable spell according to Donovan. Subsequent loans spells to the Premier League with Everton followed, but Bayern Munich remains the biggest club he has played in his career.
Donovan will be part of the MLS all-star team that will be taking on Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in a pre-season friendly match. He says that he is looking forward to meeting his former teammates like Philipp Lahm.
“They’re just so talented. When you have a chance to play with guys like Phillip Lahm and [Franck] Ribery, you learn a lot about the game and what it takes to get to that next level. Obviously watching the World Cup and how Germany just dominated their way through it was impressive, so there’s a lot we can learn even at this age from watching those guys and seeing how they do things,” said Donovan.