Jay Rodriguez: Southampton can realise European dream

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Players settled at Southampton - Rodriguez

Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez believes none of the club's rising stars will be tempted away from St Mary's in January with Champions League qualification a "reachable dream" in the near future.

Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Rodriguez himself have been watched by the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.

But the England forward told BBC's Football Focus that the togetherness of the Southampton squad would prevent players from wanting to move on.

"I really can't see it," he told BBC Sport. "The lads are focused on Southampton, the way we are working, the way we are playing. I don't think anyone wants to spoil that or move away from that.

"There is a massive team spirit in the camp. It is a great place to be."

United remain admirers of Shaw, despite Southampton making it clear that the player is not for sale at any price, and Rodriguez believes with an exciting group of young English players coming through, there are "no limits" to what the club can achieve.

Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez celebrate a goal against Cardiff.
Shaw, Lallana and Rodriguez have gained many admirers this season.

"You come into training, everyone is friends and they are genuine friendships in there. It is nice to have the media talk about it, but in our dressing room we are concentrating on our team and that is where we all want to be," he added.

When asked if Europe and Champions League qualification were the next targets, Rodriguez said: "Yes, those are the dreams but they are reachable. The way we set out and the way we want to be, everyone wants that. I don't see why we shouldn't dare to dream."

Rodriguez is preparing for the FA Cup third round tie with his hometown club Burnley on Saturday. It promises to be an emotional reunion for the 24-year-old, whose family and friends will be in the stands at St Mary's, for his first game against his former club.

"My mum and dad will support me, that is what they have done all their lives," he added. "But they are Burnley supporters that is where they are from, so it will be a weird occasion for them."

Burnley remains proud of the man who left Turf Moor in a £7m deal in 2012 and Rodriguez explains that support remains important to him.

"It is really nice to have the backing of where you are from," he added. "It is a good town to be from. It is full of nice people and it is something to proud of. It will be nice to see the Burnley fans and the players I have played with. It will be a nice occasion."

Watch the full interview on Football Focus, Saturday 4 January at 1200 GMT on BBC One.

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