Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez praises manager Mauricio Pochettino for his influence
Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez reckons he is playing the best football of his career under Mauricio Pochettino.
Last Updated: 13/12/13 1:16pm
The 24-year-old took time to adjust at St Mary's after former Saints boss Nigel Adkins paid Burnley £6m for his services in the summer of 2012.
But Rodriguez started to hit form quickly under Pochettino, who instilled belief in the winger after taking over as Saints head coach.
"Since he has come in, he has given me the belief, the confidence, and shown me the way to play," Rodriguez said.
"It has obviously helped me massively. It is all credit to Mauricio for helping me improve as a player.
"It is a good team to be involved in. We keep the ball, play well and we work hard. We're all honest lads and it is a good team."
Rodriguez made his England bow in the recent 2-0 reverse to Chile and, while the Southampton star was disappointed with his display, he is determined to make Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad for the finals in Brazil in June.
"Obviously I wasn't happy with my performance in the game, but the experience was unbelievable for me.
"I took a lot of positives from that, but I would have obviously liked it to have gone better and to get the win. It was a hard game and I thought Chile played really well.
"I think you've always got to set your targets as high as you can and I think that is the highest target you can try to achieve," Rodriguez said of a potential World Cup spot.
"It would be a great feeling to go to a World Cup, but I have a lot of hard work to do. I need to keep trying to improve as a player for Southampton."