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Dedication pays off for Jay

Burnley youth coach Terry Pashley believes an England debut for Jay Rodriguez at Wembley on Friday would be deserved reward for his hard work and dedication.

Last Updated: 12/11/13 at 15:30 Post Comment

Jay Rodriguez: Former Burnley man

Jay Rodriguez: Former Burnley man

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The 24-year-old has been given a chance to gatecrash the World Cup party, having been selected in Roy Hodgson's squad for this week's friendly with Chile and next Tuesday's encounter with Germany.

He has earned the call on the back of some impressive performances in Southampton's startling rise to third place in the Barclays Premier League.

However, a few pats on the back are also due at Turf Moor for Rodriguez cut his teeth at his hometown club, joining Burnley when he was just 11 and remaining with the Clarets throughout his development.

Pashley honed the undoubted ability from the age of 16, and while he accepts it is impossible to say for certain whether anyone of that age will make the grade, there were traits to Rodriguez's character that ensured he had the best chance.

"Jay was like many young players in that he had potential," said Pashley. "But he was also very dedicated and extremely level-headed.

"He was always working at his game. When he had to take a back seat once the club were promoted to the Premier League, he didn't let it affect him.

"He continued to improve because he was so keen to be the best he could be. He bided his time. And when he got his chance, he took it.

"Now he is back in the Premier League, albeit at a different club, and is the obvious example to any young player of what can be achieved if you are prepared to work and make sacrifices."

Rodriguez's dad, Kiko, was born in the UK to Spanish parents, and after briefly returning home came back to settle in the north-west, where he made a name for himself on the local non-league scene.

His eldest son is at a different level altogether now, with Pashley believing Rodriguez is benefiting from pledging himself to Burnley when there were obvious, more glamorous, options within an hour's drive.

"Parents can get a little bit starstruck when a Manchester United or Chelsea come calling," said Pashley. "They might start thinking their sons have made it.

"But the pathway through at Manchester United is going to be far more difficult than the pathway at our club.

"You still have to earn the right to play but you see so many kids getting lost in the system.

"The crux of it is putting them in at the right time, when it is going to benefit both the team and the boy himself."

Rodriguez marked his arrival in 2008 by scoring the winner in a League Cup encounter with Fulham.

Later that season he also found the net in what turned into a heartbreaking semi-final defeat to Tottenham in the same competition.

After being named in the 2011-12 PFA Championship Team of the Year in recognition of his 21 goals in all competitions, Rodriguez moved to Southampton for B£7million, jumping at the chance of another shot at the top flight.

He has never forgotten his roots though, and his prominence at the club will be invaluable for Pashley in the years ahead.

"Jay phoned me on Friday and we had a little chat about what he had achieved," said Pashley.

"It is absolutely fantastic for him and his family. You cannot get any higher than being picked for England and I am honoured to have played a part in that, even if I was only guiding. Jay is the one who did all the work.

"It does help us as a club, though.

"I can tell our other apprentices that this boy has been through exactly the same experiences they are going through now.

"Jay is now the model for what all our young boys are striving to achieve."

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