FRESH from scoring both of Burnley’s goals in their win at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night, Jay Rodriguez collected his thoughts and uttered a simple sentence that said an awful lot.
“I want to push on with the Clarets,” Rodriguez said, as it was becoming clear that the January transfer window would pass without Burnley having to fend off a bid for their star striker.
In front of the media at least, the 22-year-old is a man of few words, shy and forever keen to deflect all praise on to his team-mates.
But there was feeling in that sentence, and the simple use of the word ‘Clarets’ told us why Eddie Howe may well have the hungriest striker in the Championship on his hands in the next three months.
Few other players would refer to the club as ‘the Clarets’, but Rodriguez is a special case. A local boy, a lifelong fan, a player living his dream of playing for Burnley.
How long he will continue to live that dream remains to be seen.
“Jay’s destined for the top, he’s going to go sooner or later, it’s just how long we can keep him,” his experienced team-mate Michael Duff admitted earlier this week.
Reality says that, as great as Rodriguez’s commitment is to the club, his time at Turf Moor could potentially come to an end in the summer.
Then, he will have only 12 months left on his current contract and Burnley may have to back down on their ‘not for sale at any price’ stance, which thwarted Southampton’s hopes of a £5m deal in August and possibly scared off other potential suitors during January.
With such growing interest, one would expect Rodriguez’s agent to advise his client not to sign a new deal at Burnley just yet, and wait to see what develops.
It is not disloyalty, it is just how football works these days.
But all this overlooks one last possibility, the possibility that could keep Rodriguez at Turf Moor.
Gaining promotion to the Premier League this season will be tough but it is certainly not beyond Burnley at this stage, helped in no small part by Rodriguez’s double on Tuesday.
The forward did not play a single minute of top flight football two years ago, despite scoring five goals during their promotion season.
The chance of representing ‘the Clarets’ in the Premier League is still an unfulfilled dream.
Now he has three months to try to make it happen, to lift his boyhood club back into the top flight.
He may not get another chance.
Should he achieve it, aided of course by those around him in the Burnley team, his status at Turf Moor may increase even further – from fans’ favourite to club legend.
The prize on offer should tell you just how determined a striker Burnley have on their hands now.
Three months to write his own chapter in the club’s history, three months to push on with the Clarets.