English Premiership

Rodriguez after England spot

2015-08-27 13:28
Jay Rodriguez (AP Photo)

London - Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez has set his sights on an England recall for next month's Euro 2016 qualifiers against San Marino and Switzerland despite his manager's reservations over the player's fitness.

Rodriguez, who has made one appearance for the national side against Chile in 2013, has recently recovered from a serious knee injury that kept him out for the entire 2014-15 season and ended his hopes of playing at the World Cup in Brazil last year.

Roy Hodgson is due to name his squad for the qualifiers on Sunday and Rodriguez, who scored his first goal of the season in a Europa League tie against Midtjylland last week, hopes he has done enough to be part of the England manager's plans.

"Of course, it was the highlight of my career to go and represent my country. It's the best thing for a player to do that," the 26-year-old was quoted as saying in the British media, also alluding to his recovery from injury.

"I'm just concentrating week-by-week to get as much match fitness and sharpness as I can, and try and take confidence from each game. It's a case of taking it slowly and hopefully it comes," Rodriguez added.

"There were times in my injury period that were really hard. If you aim high then the sky's the limit and that is what keeps you going through the tough times."

Rodriguez's chances of earning a recall have been boosted by injuries to England regulars Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck but Saints manager Ronald Koeman believes it is still too early to consider the striker for international duty.

"In my opinion it's too soon. It takes time after so long a period outside the pitch and working hard to come back. He needs time to come back for the national team as well," the 52-year-old Dutchman told the club's website (www.saintsfc.co.uk).

"I'm already a little bit surprised how he did last week on Thursday because he was really on a high level. It's normal he is still not 100 percent.

"First concentrate on Southampton. If he is 100 percent, then he will be sure he will be one of the targets for the national team," the former Feyenoord manager added.

England top Group E of the Euro 2016 qualifiers on a maximum 18 points from six fixtures and travel to San Marino on Sept. 5 before hosting Switzerland at Wembley three days later.


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