Rodriguez delighted to be back for Saints

After a nightmare run of injuries spanning two years, striker Jay Rodriguez made the Southampton starting line-up for the first time in seven months on Saturday.

Saints boss Ronald Koeman welcomed the England international back from injury at the start of the Premiership season. The player had damaged his cruciate knee ligaments 16 months earlier, an injury from which he only fully recovered last summer.

However, the former Burnley star managed three goals for his club before a foot injury, and the resultant surgery, in October had him sidelined for a further seven months. The player's long lay-off also coincided with an injury to the club's Italian striker, Graziano Pelle, who also missed several matches over the Christmas period.

Rodriguez came off the bench in Southampton's previous two matches, their draw at Goodison Park and the win at home to Newcastle, and finally found himself back in the starting eleven this weekend in the Saints' win over Aston Villa.

While the player was disappointed not to have directly contributed to the scoreline, he was delighted to have made the starting XI.

"It was great, that's where you want to be, you want to be starting and being amongst the team," Rodriguez told Southampton's YouTube channel.

"I wanted to grab a goal, that was the only thing I was disappointed with. Hopefully it will come soon.

"I felt really good. I didn't feel that tired towards the end and I felt I could carry on. You're always improving if you're playing with your fitness and sharpness, you get better each game.

"We want to win every game we've got left now, and that's the aim. We want to win well, and I thought we did [against Villa], so hopefully it continues.

"I want to be involved in all the games and try and improve and score. That's the main thing for myself, and do well for the team."