Premier League

Thursday 31 July 2014

Rodriguez makes mark

Crystal Palace 0 Southampton 1

Simon Peach

Published 09/03/2014|02:30

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Jay Rodriguez of Southampton beats Palace keeper Julian Speroni to the ball to score the first goal of the game
Yannick Bolasie of Crystal Palace takes on Jack Cork of Southampton
Jason Puncheon of Crystal Palace is watched by Luke Shaw of Southampton

Mauricio Pochettino believes Jay Rodriguez's match-winning display against Crystal Palace shows he is worthy of a World Cup spot.

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Southampton had 18 players away on international duty in midweek, including four with England squad. Teenager Luke Shaw made an impressive international debut against Denmark, while Saints captain Adam Lallana further boosted his chances of going to Brazil with a fine display off the bench.

Rickie Lambert and Rodriguez, the other Southampton players involved, were reduced to a watching brief at Wembley, returning to action as Saints won at Selhurst Park.

The latter netted the decisive goal in a frustrating match, latching on to a weak header by former Southampton winger Jason Puncheon and then beating Julian Speroni in a 50-50 challenge to finish into an open goal.

"I thought the goal showed exactly what Jay Rodriguez is made of," Pochettino said of the 37th-minute strike.

"It showed his quality, showed his speed, showed how brave he is, showed his technique. It also shows the fact that he fully deserved the England call-up as well."

Asked if Rodriguez had the talent to play at the World Cup, the former Argentina international said: "I think he has the talent, I think he has the skill to play for the English national side."

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