Burnley striker Jay Rodriguez enhances his 'legend' status

Sean Dyche admitted Jay Rodriguez enhanced his ‘legend’ status at Burnley with a magnificent goal to clinch an historic 2-0 win at Old Trafford.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 10:44 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 10:45 am
Jay Rodriguez

Rodriguez swapped passes with Chris Wood – who had volleyed a first half opener against Manchester United – and stunned David De Gea with a left-foot rocket into the top corner at his near post.

It was his 48th goal for the club over two spells – and arguably his best, coming almost exactly 11 years to the day since his last-minute equaliser against Spurs at Turf Moor took the Carling Cup semi-final to extra time.

And Dyche said: “He is a local lad and a legend, so that doesn’t harm that side of things when he scores a goal like that at Old Trafford and we win.

“He is a great lad and a great pro and he has kept his head right and has kept working and it is great to see him get his rewards, certainly on big occasions like tonight.”

It was a seventh goal since his summer return from West Brom, and he is flourishing as he gets more gametime after Ashley Barnes’ groin injury and subsequent hernia operation: “I am pleased. he works ever so hard and he is learning and connecting better with his team-mates and that takes time.

“Barnesy and Woody have played together a while here with roughly the same group.

“You get on field connections and he is beginning to learn that, and there were signs obviously with his goal because it was good clever play between him and Woody.”

Rodriguez will hope to get the chance to add to his goal tally in the Emirates FA Cup fourth round at home to Norwich City on Saturday, with Phil Bardsley hoping to shake off the knock he picked up against Leicester on Sunday, which ruled him out at his former club on Wednesday.

Dyche said: “He has got a chance, he wanted to play but I called it in the end because he didn’t look comfortable. It is hard when you come to these places because you want everyone at maximum and if you are carrying something it is not easy, so we will see.”

Johann Berg Gudmundsson could also be available after a hamstring problem: “He is working well, he has a chance of being involved and we will make a decision on that.”

Ben Gibson wasn’t in the 18 at Old Trafford as speculation over his future continues: “You can continue with the speculation, you can say what you want because I will be smiling tomorrow morning! We will wait and see, like every player, history suggests that they do leave us at some point, all of them, even the ones I said no they leave when that figure hits a figure so I am not going to start making big statements about people definitely being here and all that.”

Gibson, Burnley’s joint-record signing at £15m from Middlesbrough in 2018, has been linked with Besiktas, Eintracht Frankfurt and Cologne, as well as former club Boro.

Boro boss Jonathan Woodgate said: “Have I spoken to Ben about signing? Not at the minute. Ben Gibson’s a good player, but there’s an awful lot of good players in the league. Would he be open to coming back? I’m not sure on that one. But he’s a Boro lad isn’t he?”

Burnley remain keen on Boro centre back Dael Fry, although Woodgate added: “Dael is not for sale.

“He’s not for sale unless someone pays £30m.”

Nahki Wells is also being linked with Bristol City and Wigan, although he is believed to be happy at QPR, where he is on loan for the rest of the season.

There is a suggestion Burnley could recall and sell him, but Dyche said: “He is going along nicely, we keep tabs on him and know what he is doing. I know Mark Warburton well and he is very pleased with him. We will monitor situations like we do, he is one of ours so we are in control of that situation.”