The Monday Profile: Jay Rodriguez
Rodriguez has form. Having top scored last season with 15 goals, the 21 year old already has 8 this time out; most recently pillaging the winner in the hard won 1-0 victory over Millwall last week. Indeed, on the way into the ground, a bear of a youth proclaimed his excellence to me – and the programme on this day was lobbying for him to be named as the North West’s Championship Player of the Year award for last season. If you want to vote for Jay, get yourself over to this link at No Nay Never.
With five of the local boy’s tally having come in a 6-3 Carling Cup spanking of Burton, another in the same competition against Barnet and a brace against Steve McLaren’s hapless Nottingham Forest, I was a tad cynical – after all, Rodriguez seems to have been around for ages now, having first debuted in 2007 and existed on the fringes of the team through the promotion season of 2008-9. Injury disallowed him from enacting much of an impression as a Premier League player, but relegation has been the making of him.
Here, had I not been partisan, I would have enjoyed the deft cleverness of his link up play with the bustling and almost equally impressive Charlie Austin, although both were forced to come wider and deeper than they might have liked for possession. His one touch play is admirable and he has the sleekness of the kind of player who could prosper at a higher echelon, doing well with service that could have been more reliable. Central midfielder Marvin Bartley won the man of the match award but looks to be in the destroyer rather than creator category and Junior Stanislas showed raw pace but little else down the left.
Rodriguez, the product of a Spanish father who once graced the turf at Deportivo de La Coruña’s Riazor Stadium, took his bow as an England under-21 man in February and is all important for Clarets as they adjust to the significant departures of Wade Elliott, Jack Cork and Chris Eagles, as well as the continued injury problems of Martin Paterson.