England call 'unbelievable' says Jay-Rod
Friday, 04 February, 2011
Burnley forward Rodriguez is stunned by England selection.
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Burnley forward Jay Rodriguez has spoken of his joy and surprise after his inclusion in the England Under-21 squad to face Italy in Empoli next week.
The former Turf Moor trainee has been rewarded for a lengthy run in the Clarets' first team this season that has seen him play over twenty games and net six goals. With the Lancashire outfit pushing for a play-off place in the Championship, Jay-Rod's contribution has been noted by Young Lions boss Stuart Pearce and now has his chance to prove himself on the international stage.
"I am just stunned. I still don't think it's sunk in yet but I'm looking forward to it and I will enjoy it," said Rodriguez. "To play someone like Italy is massive and just to be part of England is unbelievable and something I never thought of.
"I feel as though I am learning every day around some great players here at Burnley, but this is unbelievable and a dream come true."
Although Rodriguez had been tipped for a place in the Under-21s set-up last season, a broken ankle and few first team opportunites meant the call from Pearce never came. The youngster refused to let it get him down, however.
"I heard I was on the verge of a call-up last year, but it never materialised so I just put it to the back of my mind," he told the official Burnley FC website.
"I've been concentrating on doing my best for my club, my family have been incredibly supportive. They couldn't believe it either but they are chuffed and really excited for me.
"It will be a great experience and I can't wait," said the 21-year-old. "Fingers crossed I will get a shirt and get out there and play but it's just a great experience to go with the squad and if I do I play I will try my best and hopefully do something good."
The clash with Italy is the Young Lions' first fixture of 2011 and represents the start of their build-up to the European Championship Finals in Denmark this summer.
Friendlies against Denmark and Iceland have also been arranged, as Pearce looks to go one better than his achievements in 2009, when his charges were runners-up to Germany at the Finals in Sweden.
The full squad for the Italy fixture is:
Frankie Fielding (Blackburn Rovers), Scott Loach (Watford), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough)
Joe Bennett (Middlesbrough), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Martin Kelly (Liverpool), Ben Mee (Leicester City - loan from Manchester City), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), James Tomkins (West Ham United), Kyle Walker (Aston Villa - loan from Tottenham Hotspur)
Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa), Jack Cork (Burnley - loan from Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Aston Villa), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Southampton), Jordan Henderson (Sunderland), Henri Lansbury (Norwich City - loan from Arsenal), Fabrice Muamba (Bolton Wanderers), Jack Rodwell (Everton), Scott Sinclair (Swansea City)
Nathan Delfouneso (Aston Villa), Jay Rodriguez (Burnley), Daniel Sturridge (Bolton Wanderers - loan from Chelsea)