- Rodriguez all smiles after England call-up10:00 | 08/11/2013
Jay Rodriguez has not stopped smiling since finding out about his unexpected England call-up.
Signed by Southampton last summer for what was a club record £6million, the 24-year-old has overcome an indifferent start to life at St Mary’s to become an integral member of Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
Rodriguez has netted in three of Saints’ last four Barclays Premier League matches, with such displays clearly catching the eye of England manager Roy Hodgson.
The former Burnley striker was today rewarded with a first call-up by the Three Lions, with Saints team-mates Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert also included in the squad for the upcoming friendlies against Chile and Germany .
“Words can’t describe how I feel,” Rodriguez told Southampton’s official YouTube channel.
“I am still obviously shocked. It is a bit surreal. It is a dream come true really and I just can’t wait.
“I came in today and didn’t really think anything of it. I was just told and couldn’t believe it.
“I couldn’t stop smiling and I have not stopped smiling all day. It’s class.
“It’s been important for me to concentrate on my football and improving as a player, and hopefully this will improve me massively.
“I’ve been focused on my club games and my performances there, so I had to keep my feet on the ground and keep working on that.
“Now I just can’t wait to get among the lads and be a part of it.”
It is not just a great day for Rodriguez, but the club as a whole.
Just three years on from plying their trade in League One, Saints sit sixth in the top flight and boast a squad full of international players.
As well as Rodriguez, captain Lallana is in line for his England debut having been called up for the first time since being an unused substitute against Ukraine last year, while talisman Lambert has again been included by Hodgson.
“It’s unbelievable for the club,” Rodriguez said. “It just shows the direction we’re going in and the ambition and vision we’ve got.
“We have so many international players now, so it’s a really good place to be and a good thing to be part of.
“It’s always nice if you know someone there, but Rickie has said before that the lads make you welcome there
“It’s something to look forward to and I’m just excited to get started.”
Rodriguez’s only international experience to date is a solitary England Under-21s cap, which came from the bench against Italy in February 2011.
Despite that and his call-up to Hodgson’s senior team, as this month’s matches are only friendlies the forward would still be eligible for Spain through his father, Kiko.
Is there, then, potential for an international tug of war?
“I am English,” Rodriguez said as a laugh punctuated his broad Lancashire accent.
“Obviously I have Spanish relatives and my dad is Spanish. It was always England, though, as that is where I was brought up, as you can tell by my accent.”
According to Foxsports
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