New Southampton signing Jay Rodriguez has admitted that he can’t wait for the season’s opener against Premier League champions Manchester City.
Rodriguez made the move to St Mary’s over the summer from his hometown Club Burnley to become Southampton’s record signing in a deal believed to be worth £6.5m.
And the England Under-21 international is itching to play in English football’s top flight after failing to make a single appearance for Burnley during their one and only season in the Premier League in 2009-10.
At that time Rodriguez was only in his second full season as a professional but now two years on he is desperate for a taste of the big time at City on August 19.
“It is going to be a great year and, obviously, with the other teams in the league, makes it an amazing league to play in,” Rodriguez told the Daily Star.
“I was away when the fixtures came out, but when I heard that we’d got Manchester City it was a really good feeling. It was like, ‘Why not try and beat the best at the start?’ We have no fear and it’s going to be a good all-round experience at the start of the season.”
“For Southampton to get back to where they belong is a great achievement and I wanted to be a part of it. It was a wrench to leave Burnley. I could not turn down the opportunity to play in the Premier League, though. We do not have any fear about playing anybody.”
“It is going to be an exciting year. We want to show we can do it in the Premier League. Southampton have got ambition. We showed that to get back in the Premier League and I do not see them dropping out of it again.”
Rodriguez who opened his account for the Club in last Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Arsenal added:
“I want to help us be successful,” he said. “It is a different standard in the Premier League. I have a goals target in my head and I’m confident I can do well.”
“I never think about the price tag. It does not add any extra pressure, I just want to do as well as I can for the team.”
Rodriguez scored an impressive 41 goals in 87 appearances after coming through the Clarets’ youth system.
Saints boss Nigel Adkins said: “It was great for Jay to get off the mark. He is going to be an important player for us this season. He is a very good, young talent.”