Rodders putting extra shifts in

Steve Round has revealed Jack Rodwell has been taking on extra training sessions to capitalise on the breakthrough he is enjoying this season.

Rodwell has enjoyed a fine start to the season and will hope to be back in contention for the visit of Stoke this Sunday after missing the win at Bolton with a rib problem.

That injury was suffered on international duty last month when Rodwell´s resurgence was rewarded with his first two senior England caps.

The 20-year-old looks a different proposition to the injury-hit and frustrated figure of last season, and Round is delighted to see him seizing his chance.

The Blues No.2 is privy to the full extent of his work behind the scenes, and he said: “Jack´s training is really good at the moment.

“He is working really hard and has been doing extra sessions with me in the afternoons.

“He is really looking the part and if he carries on going like he is then we will have an outstanding player on our hands.”

2010/11 was exasperating for Rodwell who could never quite get going with a succession of knocks and niggles setting him back.

Round believes ups and downs are part of the process with any young player and that Rodwell is now firmly back on an upward trajectory.

“This season he has stepped it up a bit,” Round added. “Last season he had a bit of a dip but that is understandable – he is a young player.

“Young players never really go in a straight line from being okay to being brilliant – it goes in waves.

“His waves have been quite flat. He has been on high plain, but last season he dipped a bit. He had injuries, he could not get any rhythm and his confidence suffered.

“This year he has come on again, he has built back towards it. I never doubted he would. He has the talent, the mental strength and the physical capabilities required. If he continues to develop and continues to strive towards being the best he can be then the sky is the limit.”

Tickets for Sunday´s match against Stoke are available at a reduced rate of £25 for adults and £12.50 for juniors. The Potters have had a torrid time on the road this season while the Blues go into the game off the back of successive victories.

Should Rodwell recover from his rib injury he could be one of four players pushing for a return to the squad. Phil Neville, Sylvain Distin and Royston Drenthe all missed the win at the Reebok but were all being assessed this week.

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