Friday, September 22, 2017

Jay Rodriguez eyes England return after West Brom move

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 2 Jul 2017

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Jay Rodriguez hopes regular first-team football at West Brom can help him follow new team-mate Jake Livermore into the England squad.

After leaving Southampton to sign a four-year deal with West Brom in a move reportedly worth an initial £12million, potentially rising to £15m with add-ons, the forward cannot wait to get started.

Rodriguez, who previously played for Burnley, was a regular in his first two seasons at Saints, starring with 15 Premier League goals in 2013-14, but an anterior cruciate ligament rupture and then a serious ankle injury meant he only started three Premier League games in the next two campaigns.

The 27-year-old did make 24 top-flight appearances last season, but only nine were starts, thwarting his hopes of reclaiming the England spot he had only just gained prior to his injury woes.

The ACL issue meant Rodriguez was ruled out of the 2014 World Cup and he still only has one cap to his name, which came against Chile in November 2013.

“The team is full of top players and it’s pretty clear that they are also a great set of lads,” Rodriguez told West Brom’s website after his move went through on Sunday.

“And you look at what has happened to Jake after he joined, getting back into the England squad. My aim is to keep improving, keep working hard and hopefully help Albion get better.

“If the England squad opens up for me again as a result, that would be fantastic.

“There is a lot more to come from me. The target is to set our sights as high as possible and be the best that you can be – both as a team and an individual

“I obviously was close up in the two Albion-Southampton games last season and I could see there was a blend of strong players and also flair players. I was impressed and I am buzzing to be joining the group.”

Rodriguez is open to playing as centre forward or wide attacker, as long as he can get consistent game-time.

“I want to be on the pitch and helping the team – wherever that may be, I’m happy to do it,” he said.

“I want to score goals and create chances and help the team in that way. As a player, you know it’s a short career and you want to maximise every game you play. You want to be the player you can become.

“It’s true that there is nothing like regular first-team football for that extra sharpness. That’s where you get your form and fitness from; playing regularly is the most important thing.”

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