Southampton's £6m summer signing Jay Rodriguez wants more central role

 

Jay Rodriguez admits he would much prefer to play up front for Southampton than out wide but promised to do his utmost however Nigel Adkins chooses to utilise him.

The 23-year-old striker joined the Premier League new boys for £6million in the summer but has predominantly been used on the left flank since leaving Burnley.

Rodriguez last night started in attack for the first time since joining Saints as Sheffield Wednesday were comfortably seen off in the Capital One Cup third round.

The summer signing was the star of the show as he netted both goals in a 2-0 victory that not only helped Saints progress to the last 16 but boosted his chances of becoming a regular in his preferred position.

"It was really good for us to get through to the next round and put on a good show for the fans," Rodriguez said.

"Also for ourselves it builds confidence heading into the game on Saturday [against Everton].

"To get on the pitch is great and to get that amount of minutes is great. I just want to play and to get the two goals was brilliant so I am really chuffed.

"It was nice to get my first goal for the club. It's a nice feeling to score, especially at St Mary's.

"I love playing up front. I felt really good playing that role and getting in behind and trying cause the defenders as many problems as I can.

"It is a good feeling to play up front and that is where I like it. It is where I've grown up and learned to play, but I will work as hard as I can for the team and play in any position.

"I will try my hardest in any position but, yeah, I do enjoy playing up front."

Not only has Rodriguez been used out of position by Saints, but he has found playing time limited due to the influx of new players.

After starting against Manchester City and Wigan, the Burnley-born player has found himself on the bench but knows the competition for places will only help him.

"It has been very frustrating but in the same sense you are really happy in how the last result was," he said, referring to Saturday's 4-1 defeat of Aston Villa - Southampton's first Premier League win this season.

"The lads deserved it and there is great competition for places. It is a healthy competition and it makes you improve as a player and that is what you need as a team.

"We've known how good we were deep down and it was proved in the game on Saturday.

"Now we need to look forward to the Everton game and carry on what we have been doing."

While Saints will be looking to continue the momentum brought by two wins in four days, Wednesday will be hoping to end their poor run of form at Wolves.

The Owls have lost their last five matches in all competitions and manager Dave Jones has pinpointed defensive frailties as the reason behind that.

Such was the Wednesday boss' frustration after last night's game that he threatened to bring in reinforcements if his players did not buck up their ideas.

"We have to get back to keeping clean sheets and then, when we know we can't lose a game, you have a far greater chance of winning," Jones said.

"I think we just have to keep working at it, keep doing the right things and making sure it is sinking in.

"And if it isn't sinking in at the end of the day to the players we're asking it to, then you bring in others that are going to do it.

"That is the harsh reality of football because there is a lot of good talent in that room, but defensively at the moment we're not sure in what we're doing."

PA

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