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England can aim high - Rodriguez

11 Jun 2014 16:01:52

England can aim high - Rodriguez

Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez insists there are 'no limits' to what England can achieve at the World Cup.

Roy Hodgson's side face Italy in their first game of the 2014 tournament in Brazil on Saturday night as they look to get out of a tough group that also features Uruguay and Costa Rica.

Rodriguez, 24, was capped by Hodgson in the 2-0 friendly defeat against Chile and was in with a shout of making the final 23-man World Cup squad before he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury against Manchester City in April.

The former Burnley man, talking at the opening of Spire Southampton's new sports medicine hub Perform, will be watching from home with the rest of the nation as England look to enjoy a successful competition and Rodriguez has backed the team to do well.

"I don't think there are any limits as to how far they can go," he told Press Association Sport.

"I think if you look at the squad, the manager, they are brilliant. There really are no limits and it's an exciting time for England.

"I didn't really expect anything in terms of a call-up and I'm a great believer in everything happening for a reason. I will be watching it in full support and wishing the boys do well and I'm sure they will."

Saints team-mates Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana are out in Brazil along with Rickie Lambert, who completed a move to boyhood club Liverpool from Southampton last week.

Rodriguez revealed he has spoken to the trio and also said he cannot bear a grudge against Lambert for leaving St Mary's.

"I have spoken to them all and they are all enjoying it," he said.

"They are working hard out there and it's great to watch and support them. They're very good. Conditions are very hard and they have worked hard to acclimatise and to prepare.

"I'm really happy for Rickie. It's (Liverpool) the club he has always supported and they're a great club, a massive club and one of the biggest in the league.

"For me I was so happy to see that because he deserves it but obviously I'm also sad that he has left. He has proven himself in every league, especially in the Premier League that he is more than capable of being one of the best players. He's a great goalscorer and his all-round play is brilliant."

It remains unclear when Rodriguez will be back in action for Southampton, who are also on the lookout for a new manager after Mauricio Pochettino left for Tottenham, but he is pleased with the progress so far.

"It's going really well," he added.

"I'm hitting my targets and working hard. It has been kind of enjoyable so far so it's quite good.

The first thing I can think of is to get back and have a season playing again, that first game is what I'm looking for.

"It's more about phases of what I need to hit before I move onto the next stage. It could be sooner or later than I think depending on how the rehab goes."

:: Rodriguez was talking at the opening of Spire Southampton Hospital's £2m state of the art sports medicine facility.

:: Perform Southampton, in Millbrook, has already opened its doors to patients, providing an array of elite servies, world-class facilities and leading technologies.


PA

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