Rodwell: Rooney & co could play for Barca

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Everton youngster Jack Rodwell has backed the English national setup by insisting that five senior England internationals are good enough to start for Champions League winners Barcelona.

The highly-rated midfielder, who is currently on international duty with England's under-21s at the European Champions in Denmark, dismissed criticism aimed at the England national team setup, claiming that England's decision to play a different way to World Cup winners Spain doesn’t mean they lack technical ability.

Rodwell, 20, came on as a substitute in England U21’s 1-1 draw against Spain on Sunday and is confident that several senior England internationals could walk into the Barcelona team.

Speaking ahead of England’s second group game against Ukraine, Rodwell said: "We might not have shown it the other night, but we do have players with excellent technical ability.

"You look at our senior side, we have some of the best players in the world.

"[Steven] Gerrard, [Frank] Lampard, [John] Terry, [Rio] Ferdinand, [Wayne] Rooney, the list goes on. If they were in the Barcelona squad I'm sure all of them would start.

"Obviously Barca play a different style of football, through their grass roots. Throughout their career, the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta have all been taught to a play a certain way.

"English players have been taught a different way, just like Brazil have been taught a different way.

"But that doesn't mean to say we don't have any technical ability. We have technical ability throughout the squad."

Rodwell also believes that England gave a good account of themselves against the Spanish youngsters, in which Danny Welbeck spared England’s blushes with a late equaliser.

Rodwell added: "It was a good game. The Spanish did have a lot of possession but if the game had gone on another five minutes we looked the more likely to nick it.

"We never give up and I'm sure other teams knew that already. We've shown when our backs against the wall we'll come out fighting.

"We'll always do that, that goes through all English teams. Club level as well. Other countries will be fearful of that."

Rodwell believes that the U21s will only grow more confident the further they get in the competition and believes that the team can adapt their game to ensure some success is achieved in Denmark.

"The Premier League is a lot different to playing in these tournaments - it is 100mph and more physical,” Rodwell added.

"Come to these tournaments, look at the Spanish, they are more slow-paced, keep the ball more.

"It's not the way we play, but our players can adapt. Over the next two games, we will grow in confidence and show that technical side to the game.

"We hoped we could win against Spain. They had a lot of possession but didn't break us down. More in their half. They did play pretty football. There are certain areas where you do that."

By Matt Maltby