Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez has an obvious value to England 1

Southampton’s Adam Lallana is now a consensus pick for England’s World Cup squad, and almost everybody has signed-off on just how valuable a player he has become.

But maybe that has come at the cost of some recognition for his club teammate Jay Rodriguez?

When Rodriguez made his England debut before Christmas he looked nervy and uncomfortable, and that seemingly subdued the clamour for him to go to Brazil. However, given the way he continues to play and the range of options he would provide the national team, leaving him behind increasingly looks like it would be a mistake.

The way to assess Rodriguez is to appreciate how many different attacking roles he’s capable of excelling in. This is a player who is equally comfortable as an attacking-midfielder or as a supporting-forward, who can play on either flank, and who has a very diverse set of attributes. He’s great with the ball at his feet, he’s as cold-blooded as any striker in front of goal, and he’s actually very accomplished in the air.

Beyond his obvious ability, the reason he’s been so successful in the Premier League is because, for an opposing manager, he’s incredibly difficult to game-plan against. How do you nullify a player who has so many functions, and who is capable of adapting to such a wide variety of roles? It’s very difficult.

He scored against Tottenham, but he didn’t have his best game - that game was no representative of what he’s really capable, and hopefully Roy Hodgson will look at the whole of 2013/14 before making a judgement on him. He’s scored thirteen times this season and has mainly be used as a wide-forward - that can’t be ignored.

England have a lot of players who can play one or two positions, but they aren’t in possession of many who can play three or four - positional-diversity may sound like a buzz-phrase, but it’s a very important commodity at an international tournament.

Rodriguez needs to show that he can become comfortable in an England shirt, but he can only do that with an extended opportunity in the pre-World Cup friendlies.

Here’s hoping that he gets that chance.

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