Rodriguez determined to come back stronger

Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez is determined to come back stronger after suffering a knee injury that kept him out of the FIFA World Cup.

Rodriguez earned his first England cap in November last year and had been expected to be selected in Roy Hodgson's squad for the World Cup, but sustained a serious knee ligament injury in Southampton's 4-1 defeat to Manchester City in April.

The 24-year-old will now have to watch from home as an England squad that includes Southampton team-mates Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw attempt to make an impression in Brazil.

But the former Burnley man, who scored 17 goals in all competitions last season, is upbeat over the situation and is taking the positives from his injury.

"I know that once I've done the rehab and done it correctly, if anything, it'll make me physically stronger," Rodriguez told the Daily Mail.

"I've got time to build muscle and build my legs up to improve. I don't get the time in the season.

"I know mentally it will make me stronger, because at times I think you need a bit of negativity in your career to overcome it."

And Rodriguez is hopeful that he can quickly return to form and establish himself as an England regular.

"That's my aim," he added. "I always said to myself that I wanted to improve every season that I play. This part of my life is very testing, but I feel it's going to make me step up to the next level.

"I've got to think of the future and think, 'this is just a small part of my career'."