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Daily Echo

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Rodriguez stakes claim to start for Saints against Villa

Jay Rodriguez

Jay Rodriguez

Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author

Gordon Simpson, Senior Sports Reporter / / Sport

Published / Sport

Jay Rodriguez believes he has improved as a player since joining Saints, even if his first few months at the club have been frustrating at times.

The 23-year-old, pictured, arrived at St Mary’s last summer in a £7m deal from Championship side Burnley.

At the time, the fee paid for his services was a club record, only for it to be trumped soon after by the £12m capture of Gastón Ramírez from Bologna.

The price tag, coupled with a burgeoning reputation forged in the second tier, meant expectations were high following Rodriguez’s transfer.

But the forward has been unable to nail down a regular place in Nigel Adkins’ team this term.

He started the campaign as a regular selection, however he was utilised mainly on the left-hand side, rather than through the middle.

Rodriguez then dropped onto the substitutes’ bench for a spell, but has started to force his way back into the reckoning, turning in some impressive recent displays.

He scored in the 3-3 draw at Stoke and also put Saints in front against Chelsea in last weekend’s FA Cup defeat, with his form coinciding with opportunities to play in a more central position.

“It has been a learning curve playing against better players and better teams,” admitted Rodriguez.

“It has been a little bit frustrating as I’ve not had as many games as I would have like to have played.

“But all I can do is work hard and just carry on trying to improve as a player.”

Full story in today's Daily Echo

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