Pochettino hails Saints strikers

Mauricio Pochettino believes he has a potentially potent England international strike partnership forming at Southampton.

Last Updated: 11/04/13 at 17:35 Post Comment

Lambert and Rodriguez: Saints sharp shooters

Lambert and Rodriguez: Saints sharp shooters

Mauricio Pochettino believes he has a potentially potent England international strike partnership forming under his Southampton stewardship.

Rickie Lambert has grabbed the majority of the headlines in the Saints' first season back in the Barclays Premier League and is the top English scorer in the division with 14.

But the recent form of summer signing Jay Rodriguez has seen his reputation soar and Pochettino, whose side take on West Ham on Saturday, believes the former Burnley man has enough quality to earn a call-up to Roy Hodgson's squad.

"I think Jay Rodriguez, in the two months I have been here, has developed a lot," he said.

"He has great potential and I think he has a lot more to go - his potential hasn't reached its peak yet and he has much more to give but it is clear to me that his football talent and football skills make him a Premier League player.

"To be able to play in a national team and do it well you need more than two months playing well - you need to develop your game over a long period of time and if he can do that, I see a future for him [with England].

"I have no doubts that if he keeps playing this well he will get his chance.

"From the tactical point of view, perhaps the way we are playing now is enabling him to develop his own brand of football and play even better."

There has already been suggestions Lambert could also do a job for England, leaving Pochettino with the mouth-watering prospect of having two fully-fledged England internationals leading his line.

With the likes of Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe and Danny Welbeck favoured by Hodgson it remains unlikely that he would find space for both Lambert and Rodriguez, but Pochettino reckons the Southampton duo could both make an impact.

"I don't think it would be something far-fetched," the Argentinian added.

"If they both play as well as they have done lately I can see that happening. Both players are really comfortable playing here and are happy with us.

"Hopefully their performances can just keep on getting better in the next few years, that would be great for Southampton."

The winners of the fixture with West Ham on Saturday would move onto 40 points for the season and could move into the top half of the Premier League table.

Pochettino feels hitting the 40-point target would be enough to secure a second successive top-flight campaign for the Saints, but also wants to push on for the duration of the season.

"It is a reality that we are facing and I agree [that 40 points would be enough]," he said.

"It is a really important game against West Ham. Getting a win would be our fourth successive win.

"But we need the help of everyone. We are aware of West Ham; fitness-wise and physically they are a very strong team and we saw the best of them earlier in the season. We are aware it is going to be a very difficult game."

Pochettino revealed Rodriguez is a slight doubt for the clash with the Hammers after succumbing to a virus, which has also affected defender Luke Shaw and winger Jason Puncheon over the course of the week with all three players now hoping to shake the illness in time for the visit of West Ham.


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