Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell was close to a January return to Everton, according to the Express.

The Toffees hoped to bring Rodwell back to Goodison Park after a frustrating first 18 months at City.

But Premier League rules state that you cannot loan two players from the same side, prompting Roberto Martinez to offer £1m for Gareth Barry, currently on a season-long loan from City.

The deal had legs until Manuel Pellegrini’s bid for Porto midfielder Fernando collapsed, which halted any talks between Everton and Rodwell.

The 22-year old has had an injury-plagued time at the 2012 champions, limiting his first-team opportunities.

A good run in City’s side at the back end of last season, including two goals against Norwich on the final day, looked as though it was a glimpse of what to come this season from Rodwell.

England manager, Roy Hodgson, rewarded the former Everton man for his fine end-of-season form with a call up and substitute appearance in the 2-2 friendly draw with Brazil, his first national team showing for over two years.

But with just three Premier League appearances this term, mostly down to more niggling injuries, it's unlikely he'll be sitting in one of the 23 seats on the plane to Brazil this summer.

Though with injuries to Fernandinho, Javi Garcia and James Milner, aligned with Rodwell's return to fitness, he may be able to finally establish himself under Pellegrini and catch Hodgson's eye again.

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