Jay Rodriguez is an English striker who was born in Burnley on 29th July 1989. Rodriguez is of Spanish descent. His father Kiko had a trial for Deportivo in 1983. Rodriguez began his career with his hometown club in the early 2000s. He was promoted to the first team squad prior to the 2007/08 campaign by Steve Cotterill. Rodriguez made his Clarets debut on 29th December 2007 in a 1-0 home defeat to Bristol City. On 11th January 2008 he was loaned to Scottish 1st Division outfit Stirling. Rodriguez made his debut against Celtic in a cup match. He scored three times for Stirling in what was a fairly useful learning experience.
Rodriguez enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2008/09 with Owen Coyle’s Burnley, who played some thrilling attacking football. He shone in Carling Cup action, helping The Clarets qualify for the semi-finals of the competition with a goal against Fulham on 23rd September 2008. Rodriguez also scored in the semi-final second leg against Tottenham on 21st January 2009, sending the game into extra time (Spurs would eventually go through to the final with a couple of last minute goals). He was mainly used a substitute in league competition. He scored in a 2-1 FA Cup win over QPR on 13th January 2009, before netting his first in the league on 11th March 2009 against Crystal Palace. Three days later Rodriguez scored Burnley’s goal of the season in a 5-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest. He was used as a substitute in the Clarets three play-off victories against Reading and Sheffield United.
Rodriguez suffered a frustrating 2009/10, with his development hampered by an ankle injury sustained early on. He didn't feature in a single minute of Burnley’s Premier League bow, making just two Carling Cup appearances against Hartlepool and Barnsley. He signed for the latter on loan in January 2010. Rodriguez scored on his debut for the Tykes on 2nd February in a 4-1 win at Preston. He remained at Oakwell for a further month, making six appearances in total.
Rodriguez was given another chance in the Burnley first team during 2010/11 after the club had been relegated back to the Championship. His game came on considerably. Rodriguez earned a reputation as one of the best young players outside the top flight. He netted 15 goals in total as Burnley narrowly missed out on a play-off place. Highlights from that season included a last minute winner over local rivals Preston, with Burnley coming from 3-1 down to win 4-3 in the last 6 minutes. Rodriguez also scored a double against Coventry on 15th March 2011.
Rodriguez was strongly linked with a move to Southampton in August 2011, but would remain at Turf Moor for the duration of 2011/12. He started the season in fine form, scoring four goals in a League Cup tie with Burton on 9th August. Rodriguez scored 21 in total that campaign for an inconsistent Burnley team. He was named in the PFA’s Championship team of the season. Rodriguez was particularly impressive in the second half of 2011/12. He had to wait until 27th September for his first goals, a brace in a 5-1 demolition of Nottingham Forest. He scored a further two against the same opposition in February, but missed the chance to bag a hatrick with a comical penalty miss. Rodriguez also grabbed vital late strikes against Hull and Peterborough. He missed matches in April 2012 through injury before returning for what would turn out to be his final Clarets match on April 28th, a 1-1 draw with Bristol City.
On 10th June 2012 Rodriguez signed for Southampton for a record fee, believed to be in the region of £6,000,000. He scored on his debut in a pre-season clash with Arsenal. Rodriguez was shunted out-wide early on in the campaign, where he often struggled to assert himself on games. His movement and touch was generally very good, but his end product was often lacking early on. The former Burnley man scored twice in the League Cup against Sheffield Wednesday in September 2012, but missed the chance to put Saints 2-0 up at Everton a few days later. Rodriguez netted against Tottenham in a decent display in October 2012. More often than not he was kept quiet during the first half of the 2012/13 season, however. Rodriguez took a while to develop that Premier League know-how, but did start to improve at the end of 2012, with a goal in the 3-3 draw at Stoke. He scored in the 5-1 defeat against Chelsea too. It wasn't until Mauricio Pochettino arrived on January 18th that Rodriguez really started to live up to his hefty price tag. Under the Argentinian he was given the freedom and the confidence needed to thrive. He scored in the 2-1 defeat at Man United at the end of January, before setting up Morgan Schneiderlin at Wigan a few days later. Rodriguez was close to unplayable against Man City on February 10th. He put in further stunning displays against Liverpool - where he netted after running half the length of the pitch - and against Chelsea and Reading, where he also scored. Rodriguez's form took a slight dip towards the end of the 2012/13 campaign
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