JACK RODWELL is back with a bang – and almost with a banger.
The former England midfielder launched his latest comeback by nearly conjuring a 30-yard winner in an eye-catching debut for Western Sydney Wanderers in a derby draw with Sydney FC.
The ex-Everton, Manchester City and Sunderland man, 30, joined Wanderers last week after last playing 16 months ago.
Rodwell's wife Alana Licate, who hails from Western Sydney, helped seal the move to a club bossed by former Wolves and Wales midfielder Carl Robinson.
And Rodwell showed glimpses of why he was once the great new hope of English football in a 0-0 A-League stalemate.
He peaked his impressive display by arrowing a long-range left-footer to the top-right corner with seven minutes left.
But an arching tip-over from visiting keeper Andrew Redmayne denied Rodwell a dream start to his career Down Under.
His fortunes have faded since winning three caps from 2011-13 as an all-round talent who was equally comfortable in central defence.
Injuries and questions over his attitude stunted Rodwell's development.
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And his decline was epitomised at Sunderland when he sat on the sidelines on a huge pay-packet rather than move on as they slipped down the divisions.
He flickered back onto the scene with Blackburn before joining Sheffield United during their triumphant Premier League return two terms ago.
His final match in England was as a sub for the Blades in a 1-1 draw at Burnley on July 5 2020.
And upon his Wanderers arrival this month, Rodwell insisted he was 'really excited'.
He told the club website: "I've been looking at the opportunity to play in Australia for a couple of months and with my wife being from Western Sydney, the Wanderers was the perfect destination."
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