Everton manager David Moyes says that he expects Jack Rodwell to produce big things this season, despite a mixed start.
An incorrectly awarded red card in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool – which was later rescinded – killed that match as a contest, but Rodwell came back strongly.
He scored in injury time at Fulham to seal the three points for Everton, and he is expected to play a part against an intriguing Chelsea team.
“In a way, I think the backing he has got off everyone after the red card has actually helped him – to see everyone felt it was the right thing to do has shown him his tackle was a good tackle,” said Moyes.
“He’s tackling in training and the way he’s gone about things has improved. He knows so many people supported what he did and were behind him.
“I think he had to realise that, when he didn’t have the ball, he had to win the ball back and be competitive.
“When he’s got it, he’s quite elegant and composed in possession. But when he didn’t have it, he had to show the other side to it.
“Hopefully it will help him mature and become an all-round midfield player in whatever type of game he’s in – whether he has the ball or whether he’s having to help get it back.”
“I think Jack’s feeling as if he might have to be one of the main men since Mikel [Arteta, who signed for Arsenal in the summer] left. Before, he was always just ‘the boy’.
“He has to take on that mantle and he’s just beginning to look as though he might be able to carry it. He’s got the ability to score with both feet and he’s a good striker of the ball. I think he’s beginning to believe a bit more.
“He’s beginning to understand a bit more about what is expected, as well. So, all round, there are good signs for Jack.
“But even though he’s got all the games [under his belt] he’s still young and we’re keeping our eye on him.”
Chelsea’s team is expected to contain youngsters such as Romelu Lukaku, Oriol Romeu and Josh McEachran.