Jay Rodriguez receives England Under-21 call up

Jay Rodriguez has been called up by England for an under-21 friendly in Italy next week.

The Burnley-born striker receives international recognition for the first time after establishing himself as a first-team regular at Turf Moor this season.

Rodriguez is named in Stuart Pearce’s squad for the game in Tuscany as England step up their preparations for the European Championship finals in Denmark in June.

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He is joined by team-mate Jack Cork and becomes Burnley’s first home produced England under-21 player since Richard Chaplow was capped in 2004.

“Congratulations to Jay on his international call-up,” said Clarets’ boss Eddie Howe.

“Everyone here is excited about the potential Jay possesses in abundance and his call up is rich reward for all his hard work.

“I am sure, given the chance, he will be a credit to himself and Burnley Football Club.”

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England U21 coach Stuart Pearce added: “We’re missing a number of players through injury, but it will give me a chance to look at a few new players.

“Rodriguez has been playing well for Burnley and deserves an opportunity.”

England’s game against Azzurrini - the Little Blues - takes place at Serie B side Empoli’s Stadio Carlo Castellani on Tuesday, February 8 (ko 2pmGMT).

Rodriguez progressed through the Centre of Excellence and youth-team ranks at Turf Moor and after making his senior debut in December, 2007 spent a spell on loan at Stirling Albion.

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His return saw him break through at first-team level as he scored five goals as a regular substitute under Owen Coyle in the 2008/09 season.

Rodriguez didn’t make a Premier League appearance during the Clarets’ top-flight campaign as the former Barden High School pupil suffered a broken ankle and also spent a month on loan at Barnsley.

But this season the 21-year-old has become a key player, starting 20 times in the Championship and scoring six times.

Rodriguez came into consideration for England’s last under-21 friendly against Germany last November and has now got the nod for a place in the Young Lions’ squad for the first time.

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Two of the Clarets’ squad currently out on loan have also received call-ups for international commitments next week.

Defender David Edgar, who has joined Swansea City until the end of the season, has been named in Canada’s squad for a friendly against Greece in Larissa on Wednesday, February 9.

And Alex MacDonald, on loan at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, has been called by Scotland’s under-21s for a training camp from February 7-9.