Tevez shows Rodwell how it's is done
MANCHESTER CITY had two new players on show. One was Jack Rodwell spoiling his debut with the mistake that led to Southampton’s second goal after a €19 million transfer from Everton. The other was not technically foreign to this parish: Carlos Tevez 2.0, who is promising to be all the good things, and none of the bad, that any €318,000-a-week forward should be.
His first half in particular here illustrated how and why. Five minutes after Sergio Aguero was carried off with a knee injury – he requires tests to assess its gravity – Tevez twisted beyond Jos Hooiveld and the former Celtic stopper dragged him down. Howard Webb pointed to the spot but David Silva failed to convert. A strong suspicion is that Tevez would not have done so.
In the closing moments of the first half the 28-year-old showed Silva how to finish. The only question mark here over Tevez, as Samir Nasri deftly played a pass along the inside-right plane, consisted of whether the forward was offside. According to Tevez and Roberto Mancini, this season will feature the second coming of El Apache. Gone will be the shenanigans from 2010 to early 2012 which featured transfer requests, homesickness and a falling out with Mancini that made the idea of him appearing again for City seem nonsensical.
After Tevez’s public and personal apology, to the manager and his team-mates, and a full pre-season, a newfound stability is being trumpeted. The Argentinian’s family all now live here and his children have been enrolled at local schools, while Tevez is leaner than he has been since entering English football at West Ham United six years ago.
Before this 3-2 win for City, Mancini’s take in his programme notes on the new Tevez was: “He wants to play football. He is now 100 per cent fit. This is the first time in four years we have had him this fit. I am very happy because Carlos this year has worked very well in pre-season and his form is better. He scored a fantastic goal in the Community Shield. I expect him to be a very important player.”
Mancini had been rather less effusive about the signing of Rodwell. On 67 minutes the midfielder suggested why the Italian has been keen to state that he has much to learn. From an attacking position just outside the Southampton area, Rodwell misplaced a regulation pass to Adam Lallana, who ran the length of the field before setting up Steve Davis’s goal.
As he shook his head at this schoolboy error Rodwell could no doubt hear the Mancini soundtrack that has accompanied his arrival, which he repeated again in the programme notes: “We welcome Jack Rodwell to our squad. He is a good player and a versatile player who is just 21 years old. He is an England international with great potential and did well at Everton but he knows that he has improvements to make and hard work in front of him over the next few years.”
For the moment Tevez is City’s present, as his standing ovation when departing near the end showed.