Western Sydney Wanderers head coach Carl Robinson hailed the performance of Jack Rodwell after the former Everton and England midfielder made it through 80 minutes in his first start for the A-League club.
Rodwell had made a pair of appearances from the bench in Wanderers’ opening two games but was included in the starting line-up as Robinson’s team handed Wellington Phoenix a 2-0 defeat on Friday to pick up their first win of the season.
“(He was) really strong,” said Robinson.
“I got asked in the first two games: when is he going to play? I think everyone wants to watch him play, he’s a terrific player.
“We all know about his pedigree.
The challenge was when do you throw him in.
Do you throw him in too early and he picks up an injury and then you miss him for a couple of games? I didn’t want to do that.
“He’s trained hard.
I just felt it was the right game.
The dynamic of the game was going to be right for Jack.
How I thought the flow would go, and it did.
Rodwell signed for Wanderers days before the start of the season as a free agent following his release by Sheffield United after an injury-blighted career that also saw him play for Manchester City, Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers.
He came off the bench in draws with Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets but featured for 83 minutes against Wellington before being replaced by Tass Mourdoukoutas.
“He got a knock early in the game, I think then it would’ve been easy to bring him off and be very, very safe,” said Robinson.
“But he got through it.
“Sometimes players need to get through the mental side of it as well.
“He got through it but at 80 minutes he told me he wanted to come off, and when a player says that you have to trust them.
They know their body.
I trust my players.
It was a very strong performance.
Wanderers coach Robinson praises Rodwell after first A-League start