Southampton’s stars have offered their sympathy to Jay Rodriguez, who has seen his chances of making England’s World Cup squad dashed by injury.
The former Burnley youngster looked a good bet to make Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad for Brazil, having enjoyed a hugely successful campaign on the South Coast. Rodriguez has scored 17 goals in all competitions this term, but his world caved in on Saturday afternoon when he landed awkwardly during the 4-1 defeat at Manchester City.
Straight away it looked as though the striker had suffered a serious injury, and it was confirmed on Monday that he has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and will be sidelined for six months. Not only is this a blow for his club, but it also means he will play no part when England travel to South America for the World Cup this summer.
Jack Cork, who arguably knows the 24-year-old as well as anyone in the game having also played with him at Turf Moor, told the Daily Echo: “I’ve seen him from Burnley to here and the way he’s developed, and I see how hard he works, and to just have it taken away from him like that is just horrible, and he’s so close to going to the World Cup.”
Morgan Schneiderlin, the 24-year-old uncapped French midfielder, added: “Listen, my point of view is he had the (World Cup) tickets already in his pocket and an injury was the only thing that could have taken the ticket out of his pocket. It’s such a shame. I just hope he’s going to be back on the pitch as soon as possible.”
The injury to Rodriguez will likely push his Southampton team-mate Rickie Lambert up Hodgson’s pecking order for a place in the England squad, but speaking after the defeat to City, the 32-year-old said: “We’re absolutely devastated for him. He’s been superb for us, he’s been on fire all season. His head has gone in there, as you can imagine. We knew straight away from seeing his face that it was bad – and it’s horrible.”
And Adam Lallana, another of the Saints England contingency who looks set for the World Cup Finals, added: “We’re all absolutely devastated for him. He’s an unbelievable lad and he’s proven this season what a player he is. And he got his rewards internationally. We’ve all let him know how sorry we are for him. There’s nothing really you can say.”