Rodriguez thanks Pochettino
Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez has thanked manager Mauricio Pochettino for helping him become an England international.
The 24-year-old made his debut in a friendly against Chile in November, with the former Burnley striker tipped to be included in Roy Hodgson's squad for this summer's World Cup.
Having scored 10 Premier League goals this season, Rodriguez believes his manager's influence has helped him succeed for the Saints this term.
"He has just given me the belief and opportunity to play. He has worked with me in this position that I play. It's quite free, it's all-attacking so it suits me but he speaks to me all the time about different situations and how I can improve my game" he told The Independent.
"The workload we have been doing has improved me physically and mentally as well. The training is really hard but it is working for us so we can't complain. Everyone has stuck to it. It's a good atmosphere.
"He's given me the belief and the run of games I needed to get my foothold in the Premier League. He has always tried to improve me."
Rodriguez has revealed it was a 'dream' to receive his first call-up and says the experience was a major learning curve.
"It was massive, something I have always dreamt of secretly. Inside I always felt it'd be amazing and for it actually to happen was a bit surreal. I remember sitting there thinking, 'I never thought it'd happen to me'," he says.
"I was told in the morning and couldn't tell anyone until it was announced - I spoke to my dad and family.
"The standard in training was unbelievable; you learn so much in a few sessions with the top players. It is everything, touch, awareness, confidence - the quality is just there. If you are not at it, you get told. It is a big step up. I learnt a lot."
With the England squad for their friendly against Denmark on March 5 set to be announced on Thursday, the Southampton striker admits he will be hoping for another run out at Wembley.
"I always want to be at the highest point possible and achieve as much as I can. I won't be expecting anything. It's a great squad of players, the standard's really high," he said.
"I will be concentrating on our next game that week and the working week in training, but obviously it would be something to look out for."