It would be easy to think that Jay Enrique Rodríguez would not be your typical Lancashire lad. His grandfather moved over to England with the intention of finding work after he hadn't succeeded in trials with Real Madrid. And although Jay's father returned to Spain to play for Deportivo la Coruña, it was only a brief stint. He represented Burnley for a limited amount of time with attitude problems being cited as the main reason for his demise.
Rodríguez Jr. evidently does not suffer with the same barrier. After making his Burnley debut in late 2007, he went on loan to Stirling Albion for half a season and suffered relegation. Following this, he helped Burnley into the Premiership though injury hindered his chances in the top division. Another loan spell at Barnsley quelled his thirst for Championship football with newly relegated Burnley. It was here where Rodríguez started to show his potential. In the last two seasons, he has found the net 36 times in 90 games. This is for a striker who is not known for his ability as an out and out goalscorer. This has not been overlooked as he was voted into the PFA Championship team of the year last season however the jury is still out on whether he holds the requirements necessary to play in the best league in Europe.
Without doubt, Rodríguez is clearly a talent who has survived the exciting yet gruelling nature of the Championship - but that was at home. In previous times, Rodríguez would have a certain degree of leeway. If he misplaced a pass, there would not be groans and cries for a substitution but merely a sense of understanding from fans - he was one of theirs. While he was on loan at Stirling, it was decided that he would travel 220 miles on match day to play but would still train with the Clarets. Now, he moves into completely new territory in four respects. Firstly, he is no longer the main man. While he was the pinnacle of his previous team, Rodríguez now faces stiff competition from Rickie Lambert, Tadanari Lee, Billy Sharp and Guly Do Prado. In order to figure in Nigel Adkins's plans for the opening day, he will need to hit the ground running in pre-season. Secondly, he will have to hold his place in the Premiership. Average Championship defenders have been replaced with the undoubted quality of players like Nemanja Vidić and Vincent Kompany. Thirdly, he is moving a long way from home for the first time in his life and still remains a young man. Although I find some fans' concerns whether he can live without his Lancashire Hotpot a bit predated, it will be a fresh hurdle. Finally, he has a large 'undisclosed' figure slapped on him which is widely thought to be a club record of seven million pounds. If this is not beaten by another player entering in the coming months then there will be a lot of pressure on his shoulders to succeed.
Having said all this, I am glad that we have signed a young man who will undoubtedly give the proverbial '110%' every game. While rumours were rife concerning the potential efforts to obtain the services of Yakubu and Michael Owen, Saints have signed a young, hungry striker who seems to be a complete forward. Saints fans seem to be delighted that the club now states that every player signed has to work in the 'Southampton way'. Clearly, Nigel Adkins does not believe that players in the twilight of their careers should be brought in as a stop gap. Furthermore, I think that this move takes the pressure off Rickie Lambert to a certain extent as Rodríguez plays a similar sort of unselfish role while having a bit more pace as well. Let us hope that this Burnley boy with an unusual background can become a Saints hero.