Reading can get ready for the Championship, says Jamie Redknapp
Last Updated: 07/04/13 9:42am
Jay Rodriguez: destined for England call-ups, says Jamie
Reading can start planning for the Championship after losing 2-0 to Southampton, says Jamie Redknapp.
The Royals' seventh consecutive defeat means the Premier League's bottom club is seven points from safety with only six games left and, on current form, Redknapp told Sky Sports he can see no way back for Nigel Adkins' side.
"Rodriguez is 23 years of age and if he keeps playing like that next year, there is no reason why England call-ups won't come for him."
"I think it is curtains for them, unless they go and win five of their next six games which I feel is an impossibility given the form that they are in," he reflected. "They are 50-1 on to go down and the bookies are not normally wrong.
"I feel that the most important thing now is that Nigel will be looking at his players and wanting to know who is going to be part of the regime next season. Who wants to be with him? I think he'll be picking the bones out of the season and getting ready for the Championship - it's as simple as that."
Reading began strongly at the Madejski Stadium but lost confidence after Jay Rodriguez gave the visitors a 34th minute lead before Adam Lallana doubled the lead in the 72nd minute.
Rickie Lambert set up the opener with a lobbed ball to Rodriguez, who beat Adam Federici to the ball and prodded home from close range - and the goal stood even though Rodriguez's studs were up.
"It's not a reckless challenge," reflected Redknapp. "I think we've got to be so careful because the game is becoming so sanitised now.
"Rodriguez never takes his eyes off the ball and the simple fact is that he wanted it more than Federici. It's a great piece of play.
"The goal pretty much epitomises the desire he shows on the pitch. He jumps but lands on the floor before he gets to the ball.
"I'm really pleased that the goal stood. Footballers have got such great spatial awareness that they know the distances and they understand when they are going to be under a challenge or when there is going to be the risk of injury. Rodriguez just showed desire."
He added: "I thought Rodriguez was sensational today. The front three for Southampton - Lambert, Rodriguez, Ramirez - were amazing today. It seems like they play with no pressure.
"There's a little triangle and the movement and interchanges were exceptional. Rodriguez is 23 years of age and if he keeps playing like that next year, there is no reason why England call-ups won't come for him - I think he's that good.
"He's got such an appreciation of where he is on the pitch and he's a lovely finisher. He looks as if he's enjoying his football, as all the Southampton players do at the moment."
Southampton secured their third win in succession when Lallana collected Rodriguez's through ball and coolly finished low to Federici's left.
"One of the most important factors from Southampton, which we didn't see from Reading, was midfield runners," said Redknapp. "Every time the ball went forward to Lambert, you'd see a midfield runner running from deep.
"The second goal came from that. Lallana was playing up front in the build-up but then he drifts into the midfield and as he receives the ball he's off - he realises there is space behind the Reading defence and it's a really good finish.
"Rickie Lambert picked up two assists today - he didn't get his goal but I thought his all-round performance today was excellent."
Reading had earlier had a strong first-half penalty appeal waved away when Jos Hooiveld challenged Hal Robson-Kanu in the box but Redknapp felt that referee Mike Jones was right not to point to the spot - just as the assistant referee was correct to adjudge that goalkeeper Artur Boruc did not carry Adam Le Fondre's second-half header across his own goal-line.
"First of all I thought 'the referee has got a really difficult decision to make' because there was a coming together," said Redknapp analysing the penalty shout.
"I didn't like the way Hooiveld went with his left foot but I think he just gets enough of the ball and if the referee's not sure it shouldn't be a penalty.
"If you are Nigel Adkins you are in that dressing room at half-time absolutely fuming because you feel that two big decisions haven't gone your way but I think Hooiveld just stops the ball before Robson-Kanu gets there."