Former Liverpool and Tottenham target Jay Rodriguez closing in on return

Southampton have been handed a major fitness boost, with the news that England international forward Jay Rodriguez could return from injury before the end of the season.

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The Daily Mirror carry quotes from Saints boss Ronald Koeman, who spoke in depth about the former Liverpool and Tottenham target during his press conference on Thursday afternoon.

Following the cruciate knee ligament injury suffered against Manchester City in April 2014, Rodriguez has not featured for club or country. The 25-year-old is now back in training, and could be back in the team sooner rather than later.

It was initially feared that the player would miss the entire season, but he now looks set to play some small role in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Rodriguez scored 17 goals in all competitions last season, earning himself a call-up to Roy Hodgson’s England squad. He’s netted 26 in 76 games for the South Coast clubs since his move from Burnley in 2012, featuring against Chile a year later.

Koeman said of the news: “Jay is now on his last part of training with the group That means, normally, in four or five weeks he will be ready for playing. It is all about how he is progressing in the next few weeks but until now it is going well and faster than the period behind us.

“If he is ready to play, he will start with the Under-21s because that is lower intensity, it is more comfortable than the first-team. It is a long time and it is the step you have to make.

“It is important because it is an injection for the team because he is a good player, a good attacker and a scoring player. It is a pity that he has been unavailable until now.

“Already in the last few weeks because he is outside, he is running, then he is touching the ball and that is really football. It is always important for the player because that’s good for his body. It looks close to playing football. If you are working in the gym, it is far away and sometimes it’s difficult for your mind.”

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