Jay Rodriguez is living a dream

ON THE MARK: Jay Rodriguez celebrates after netting his 15th goal of a productive season against Cardiff on Saturday
ON THE MARK: Jay Rodriguez celebrates after netting his 15th goal of a productive season against Cardiff on Saturday

CLARETS striker Jay Rodriguez admits it is “a dream come true” to win the club’s official Player of the Year award, and players’ player accolade from his peers.

After walking away with 10 supporters’ gongs last week, the 21-year-old cleaned up again on Sunday, rounding off a 15-goal season in style.

It is seven years since a Burnley player scored more than Rodriguez’s 14 league goals – Robbie Blake netting 19 in 2003/04 – to add to his goal at West Ham in the FA Cup.

Rodriguez’s goal against Cardiff City on Saturday took him level with Chris Eagles for the Golden Boot, and the Burnley-born frontman – named in the provisional 40-man England squad for next month’s European Under-21 Championship Finals in Denmark – looked back on a breakthrough campaign: “It’s been an unbelievable season.

“Thinking back to the start of the season I never expected this. The players’ player of the year is unbelievable, because obviously they’re the ones you work with.

“I’ve got great respect for every single player in the squad.

“It’s brilliant to come into training every day. It’s just a pleasure.

“To be rewarded with something like that is surprising. I’m a bit shocked.

“And for Grezza to present me with that award means a lot to me.

“It’s a bit unreal to be honest.”

He added: “It’s my first real season and to get this amount of awards, I’m a bit shocked.

“It’s a dream come true. The main thing is I’m playing football and that’s what I always wanted to do.

“I think there’s more to come from me so I’m looking forward to that as well.”

Shy off the pitch, he is a different animal on it.

He said: “I’m happy with my 15 but I’d still like to get more.

“I think I could have had more this year, which I’m disappointed with.

“I’ve got a lot of hard work to come to improve my game and that’s what I’ll try to do.

“I’m a bit shy, although on the pitch you can be a different person.

“My dad always said about Mark Hughes that he was the nicest guy off the pitch, but on the pitch he was a terrier and a hard guy.

“You can go on to the pitch and be someone else and be confident, but off the pitch I’m a bit more shy.”