Jack Rodwell: Talentspotter

Manchester City and England under-21 starlet Jack Rodwell talks to FourFourTwo back in December 2008, while at Everton.

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The lads call me Rodders after the Only Fools and Horses character. Not too flattering!

Team supported
I've always been a Goodison Park regular.

I have good technique, I'm a good tackler and I've got decent pace too.

I'm learning all the time and playing week-in, week-out in the Premier League can only do me good. It's been great to be given the opportunity to establish myself this season and hopefully I can cement my place in the team.

Making my debut against AZ Alkmaar in last season's UEFA Cup was a fantastic experience. I came on as a substitute for Thomas Gravesen with 10 minutes to go. James Vaughan had just put us 3-2 up and we managed to hold on at their place. My full Premier League debut against Blackburn back in August was also great. I also had the opportunity to captain England U16s and 17s, which was a real honour – it's special captaining your country at whatever age group.

I've been lucky and managed to stay free of any serious injuries so there hasn't been too many. Touch wood that'll continue.

I play a bit like...
If I had to liken myself to anyone it would probably be Rio Ferdinand: he's a great defender and very comfortable on the ball. He's proved that he is one of the best centre-backs in the world, for club and country.

Toughest opponent
I'd have to say Lassana Diarra for Portsmouth. I played against him when Pompey beat us 3-0 at Goodison and he was a real livewire, a top player.

Best player played with
Mikel Arteta is quality. He's got a great technique and a real footballing brain; you can't help but learn playing and training alongside a player like him. He's a nice bloke too.

Biggest influence
My family have always supported me, ferrying me to and from training and matches since I was a youngster. They've been a massive influence on my career, and they've always kept me going right up to my professional debut last year.

Biggest practical joker
There are some real characters in the dressing room but I'd say that Phil Jagielka is the main joker at Goodison – he's always up to something. Phil Neville is a very funny guy too, so there's always a lot of banter flying around.

I'm still taking lessons at the moment, but when I do pass my test – which should be soon, fingers crossed – I'll be eyeing up an Audi A3.

Elisha Cuthbert or Eva Mendes, I don't think I need to explain why.

I went to see The Dark Knight recently. Top film, very enjoyable.

Holiday destination
I love Mallorca: it's a great place to visit and get away from it all. Italy's beautiful too.

If I wasn't a footballer...
I haven't got a clue! Actually, I don't mind being in the kitchen so maybe I could've been a chef, although that seems to be quite a crowded market at the moment so I might struggle to challenge Ramsay and Oliver!

If I could play alongside any player...
It would have been Zinedine Zidane – a phenomenal player with an amazing technique. Now, if pushed, I would probably pick Kaka. He's definitely one of the best, if not the best, player in the world at the moment. He's top drawer.

Most embarrassing moment
Probably when I had to get up and sing in front of the Everton team in an American restaurant with the public watching – it was more nerve-wracking than running out at Goodison Park for my first-team debut! Luckily, I managed to nail it and got a massive round of applause so it was all smiles. It was definitely not something I would like to repeat in a hurry, though.

In five years' time...
I'd like to be a regular in the Everton team and knocking on the door for England.

Interview: Richard Edwards. From the December 2008 issue of FourFourTwo.