Koeman: Rodriguez to play for Saints U21s again on Sunday

Ronald Koeman has stated that forward Jay Rodriguez will continue his recovery from injury by playing 90 minutes for the Under-21 side tomorrow.

Koeman: Rodriguez to play for Saints U21s again on Sunday
Picture: saintsfc.co.uk

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman says forward Jay Rodriguez will make the next step in his recovery this weekend by playing 90 minutes for the Under-21s.

The young Saints travel to Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, coincidently at around the same time which the first-team will be hosting Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium.

The forward has had an injury-stricken couple of seasons and although he returned at the beginning of the season, he was dealt another blow when he was forced off in the draw with Leicester City back in October and he has remained out on the sidelines ever since.

But Koeman says the forward will get the opportunity to play his first full 90 minutes since his return from a serious foot injury and insisted that he hopes to have the forward back in the first-team squad for the trip to league leaders Leicester after the international break.

Forward to play another game with 21's

With Rodriguez returning from injury, building up his minutes is the next crucial step for the forward and playing for the under 21's is the natural step to take.

Koeman knows that it has been a tough ride for the forward, but he knows the importance of the step for the Southampton No.9.

Rodriguez has endured a difficult couple of years battling injuries. (Picture: Getty Images)
Rodriguez has endured a difficult couple of years battling injuries. (Picture: Getty Images)

The Dutch boss said: "Jay made a good step. It was the first 60 minutes that he played after a long time."

He explained that he "will play again in the Under-21s this weekend for 90 minutes" and said that if he can play the full game without any issues and then have "a good two weeks of training" then "he will be available for the first-team."

Boost to have duo back from suspension

Whilst Rodriguez steps up his return from injury, the Saints are boosted by the return to the team of Victor Wanyama and Jose Fonte from suspension after missing six matches between them.

The Saints boss is glad to have Wanyama and Fonte back in the team and feels his side is as strong as it's been since he took over in July 2014

"That's important, because both are important for the team," he said. "Both are physical, strong players," he added, calling it "a good boost."

Elsewhere, Charlie Austin and Florin Gardos remain out.

Austin isn't too far away however, and is expected to make his return in the first game after the international break against Leicester at the King Power Stadium.

As for Gardos, he is back in training but, it will still be some time until he can return to the side as he recovers from a serious knee injury.