EVERTON manager David Moyes is confident he can keep his latest teenage prodigy, Jack Rodwell, out of the clutches of Manchester United.
Rodwell, 18, boosted his burgeoning reputation by climbing off the bench to score a superb solo goal that capped a shock 3-1 win over the Premier League champions on Saturday.
That will only have increased the midfielder’s standing with Old Trafford supremo Sir Alex Ferguson, who has been linked with a summer swoop for the England Under-21 star.
But Moyes, who saw United raid the Toffees for 18-year-old Wayne Rooney in 2004 after the England striker exploded onto the scene, feels better prepared to fend off Rodwell’s long line of admirers.
“There has been quite a lot of attention towards Jack Rodwell for a while. But strangely enough, it was Wayne [Rooney] that worried me a lot more,” said Moyes.
“It doesn’t worry me quite so much with Jack because we’ve been through it before. I don’t think we were quite ready when Wayne came on the scene but we’re certainly ready for Jack Rodwell and our team is good enough to carry a Jack Rodwell and keep him and keep bigger suitors away.
“If Wayne was at Everton now I think it would be completely different. We’re competing within Europe, we’re trying to beat the top teams, we’re at that end of the league.”