Jack keen to stay in Toffees side

Jack keen to stay in Toffees side

Published Feb. 22, 2010 4:46 p.m. ET

Everton's teenage midfielder Jack Rodwell is hoping to take advantage of Marouane Fellaini's lengthy absence to establish himself in the side.

Rodwell scored after coming off the bench late on in Saturday's 3-1 win over Manchester United at Goodison Park.

However, with Fellaini sidelined for six months by an ankle injury, the England Under-21 midfielder is looking to force his way into the reckoning.

The 18-year-old was used regularly in the early part of the season because of Everton's injury problems but manager David Moyes was wary of overplaying the youngster.

He was given an enforced rest for nearly two months after injuring a hamstring in a Europa League tie against BATE Borisov but, having returned to fitness, Rodwell sees an opportunity to cement his place in the starting line-up.

"Sometimes you get your chances from other people's injuries, which is unfortunate for them but you've got to take that chance," he said.

"I've been working hard in training, keeping my head down and hopefully I'll get a run in the back end of the season.

"I've been out for six weeks and it was really frustrating. It's hard to get back in the team now but I'm focused and that's what I intend to do."

The teenager's fine individual goal at the weekend capped an impressive team performance against the Premier League defending champions.

Rodwell now believes they must use that result, and other recent victories against the top sides, as an incentive to finish the season strongly.

"Just to get on against United was great but to score and beat them was the icing on the cake," he added.

"We've beaten Manchester City, Chelsea and now Manchester United.

"We've had some great results at home and the confidence is brilliant.

"We need to beat the other sides like Aston Villa and Bolton to push for Europe. Who knows where we can finish?"

Rodwell also suggested the return from injury of playmaker Mikel Arteta would make a difference to the remainder of Everton's season.

The Spaniard was sidelined for almost a year after rupturing knee ligaments but has started the last three matches - which have been victories over Chelsea, Sporting Lisbon and United.

With last season's player of the year Phil Jagielka also yet to come back from a knee operation, Rodwell believes the Toffees can put in a strong finish.

"Mikel was amazing against United and he's been out for a year. Who knows where we'd have been with him?"

"Jagielka hasn't played and he was our best player last season. The future really is bright for Everton at the moment," he told the Liverpool Echo.