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Why Jay Rodriguez is Mauricio Pochettino's top gun
The £7m man has outgunned his England colleague Rickie Lambert since the Argentinian took charge almost a year ago.
Rodriguez was brought in by Nigel Adkins but has fitted into Pochettino’s style of play very naturally.
Under Adkins, the striker was averaging a goal every 5.15 Premier League games.
Under Pochettino, that statistic has changed dramatically with a goal every 2.63 games.
Lambert was bagging a goal on average every 1.91 games in the top flight under Adkins .
The England international’s ratio under Pochettino has risen to one every 3.18 matches.
While Lambert is averaging a goal every 292 minutes in the Premier this term, Rodriguez has struck on average every 189 minutes.
Pochettino’s high pressing style has undoubtedly suited Rodriguez, who found himself stuck out on the left in his early outings for Saints under Adkins.
The former Burnley man has far more freedom now in one of the three attacking midfield roles behind the main striker.
He has revealed that Pochettino has encouraged him to run at defenders as much as possible, and that has helped create goals for him and his teammates.
Rodriguez has also proved deadly in front of goal, and is the club’s leading Premier League scorer this season.
His strike at Newcastle took him to six for the season so far, which makes him the third highest English goalscorer in the top flight behind Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney.
Rodriguez has already scored as many league goals in 13 starts and three sub appearances this term as he managed in 24 starts and 11 sub outings in 2012/13.
He only played the full 90 minutes in three of Saints’ first ten league games.
But since making his senior England international debut against Chile, he has only missed one minute of Saints’ last six games - and that was last Saturday when he came off for league debutant Sam Gallagher at Newcastle.
Lambert has banged in four goals this season, including two from the penalty spot.
He is being used far differently under Pochettino than he was under Adkins.
With Pochettino in charge, he remains a focal point - but is starting the high press whenever possible and linking up play with men running beyond him.
Under Adkins he was much more of a target man, and generally the furthest forward, who was trying to get in the box on the end of every cross.
It is impossible to argue with the results under Pochettino, who has brought the best out of the squad of players at his disposal.
That equals Lallana’s tally for the whole of last season.
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