SOUTHEND United manager Chris Powell feels the fit-again Anthony Wordsworth should have been a Premier League player.

Wordsworth, who has come off the bench in Blues’ last two matches, will be pushing for his first start since January in tonight’s rearranged clash at Rochdale.

But Powell believes the talented midfielder should have graced a far higher level during his career.

“Woody hasn’t played in the Premier League but with the talent he has he should have done,” said the Shrimpers chief.

“He gives us something different.

“He’s a creative player who is quite mercurial and he’s a talented boy who I feel should have been a Premier League player.

“He’s also quite flexible.

“He can play number 10, he’s played in a three, in a holding role or on the left side so he’s very adaptable and that will help us in games both from the start and off the bench.

“But he adds something different and he’s a goalscoring threat.”

However, despite Powell’s words of praise, Wordsworth could still find it tough to make the starting line-up tonight as Josh Wright, Dru Yearwood, Michael Timlin and Sam Mantom are also pushing for selection in the centre of the park.

“I came in when Woody and Josh Wright were both injured and we were light in that area,” said Powell.

“I didn’t know how long they were going to be out for so Sam (Mantom) came in but he needed work too.

“Now all of a sudden they’re all fit so I’ve had to make some harsh decisions in there, but that’s what you want.”

Wright started alongside Shrimpers starlet Yearwood at the weekend.

But, with three games in the space of eight days, Powell could look to alter his side.

“You kind of want to freshen it because you want energy,” said Powell.

“We have three games in a week and have two mammoth trips.

“It’s not easy but I want us to be right and ready by kick-off.

“It’s about a balance and making sure we get it right.”

Blues head into tonight’s game in 13th position.

But Powell believes third from bottom Rochdale will be far tougher than their league position suggests.

“Rochdale shouldn’t be where they are,” said Powell.

“They have games in hand and they’ve won their last two so they have some momentum going now.”