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Jay Rodriguez reveals all on his life-threatening sepsis scare

"Dixie Mailey" (2020-08-27)

It was reported at the time as a 'setback' in his recovery from a serious knee injury, but as Jay Rodriguez lay bed-ridden in the intensive care unit of a Southampton hospital, doctors feared for his life.

Six years on, the former England striker has used lockdown to reflect and apply perspective to a career that has brought him back home to Burnley, the club where he was a ball boy before making his debut at 18.

Now 30, he is the man of the moment for the Clarets, scoring three since restart, including the goal last weekend that ended Liverpool's 24-match winning run at Anfield.

Doctors feared for Jay Rodriguez's life as he lay bed-ridden in intensive care in hospital in 2014

But Rodriguez is the man of the moment for Burnley after scoring three goals since the restart


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But it is a question about him ever wondering would his career have been different if not for those ruptured knee ligaments - robbing him of a place at the 2014 World Cup - that leads Rodriguez to reveal, for the first time, just why he is grateful for everything he has.

'I got injured at Man City (playing for Southampton) in the April, but after seven months I was back kicking balls,' he tells Sportsmail from his Lancashire home.

'I went in for a normal wash out, but the knee got infected.

Once an infection gets into your bloodstream it's serious, the risk of sepsis.

'I was in intensive care for two weeks. They did fear for my life. There was a point where they were probably thinking, 'This is touch and go'.

His ruptured knee ligaments in 2014 had robbed him of a spot in England's World Cup squad

Rodriguez revealed a simple procedure turned into a potentially life-threatening infection

'My fiancee was there every day, it was hard for her.

I lost a lot of weight. I was in bed and couldn't move for three weeks.

'They were trying to find the bacteria that was causing the infection to get rid of it. Thankfully, they did.

'I had to rebuild everything.
It wasn't my knee, it was health. I was in a bad place. In the event you beloved this informative article and you want to obtain more info regarding don’t hesitate to call New Era Plumbing & HVAC. Formerly known as SDP Plumbing ( generously pay a visit to the website. That was the biggest battle, but it makes you stronger.

'I said this in my wedding speech later that year, but knowing I was marrying Simone was one of the motivations for getting through it.

'It's mad looking back.

But how lucky was I? I missed 16 months, yes, but I beat it and had the incentive of playing football.

Rodriguez revealed he was forced to rebuild himself during his recovery from the infection

'So no, it doesn't help thinking, "What if I wasn't injured?".

I look back and think, "I've had a great career. I've been lucky, not unlucky. I'm grateful".'

Rodriguez's grandfather, Brian, passed away in February. He speaks warmly of his influence, of car journeys to the train station before waving him off on a four-hour trip for matches on loan at Stirling Albion aged 18.

'Losing my granddad just before lockdown was hard, it left my grandma on her own. When things were eased, she was the person we chose to see.

'I had to stay at a distance, and all I wanted to do was give her a big hug.

These past few months makes you realise how much you take for granted in life.

'But my first goal back was for my granddad, that was special, especially being my 50th for Burnley.'

His grandfather, Brian, passed away in February and Rodriguez paid tribute to his influence

That winner against Watford was followed by another versus West Ham.

Boss Sean Dyche has touted him for an England recall.

'I found a playing field near here and actually came back fitter than pre-season. I took my dogs at first, Vera and Morrissey - I love The Smiths - but they were running off with the cones and all sorts.

'But folk were looking at me a bit funny, with my bag of balls, markers and hurdles.

The odd one recognised me. Although seeing me on the floor gasping for air, they were probably thinking, "God, Rodriguez is out of shape!".'

Far from it. His volley in the 1-1 draw at Liverpool was another to add his personal goal-of-the-season shortlist, following stunners against Manchester United and Chelsea.

He used to train with his dogs, Vera and Morrissey, at a local park in a bid to reach peak fitness

A winner against Watford was followed by Sean Dyche touting him for an England recall

Rodriguez also netted the equaliser against Liverpool at Anfield in another personal highlight

'The lads are normally shouting, '"God's sake Jay, don't shoot, keep the ball!", but every so often they fly in.'

Afterwards, there was a stat doing the rounds on social media that Rodriguez had scored more at Anfield than Liverpool's Roberto Firmino this season.

'I saw that - but who has the League winners' medal?

He's one of the best out there, I don't think he's worrying about that stat, do you?'

Burnley face Norwich on Saturday and there remains the chance of European qualification. The only stain on their post restart run of good form has been the 'White Lives Matter Burnley' banner flown above the Etihad Stadium last month.

Rodriguez says: 'We were disappointed to lose that night, but that was nothing compared to how disappointed we were with the banner.

We spoke at half-time and afterwards, we were angry, gutted, it's not what we stand for.

The 'White Lives Matter Burnley' banner flown over the Etihad left the players feeling 'angry'

'The work we've put in as players, it totally missed the point of what we're trying to do.

It was not a representation of us, as a club or a town. It was a minority and was not acceptable.'

Burnley are unbeaten in six since the torment of that night. Rodriguez, who rejoined in a £10m deal from West Brom last summer, says: 'Straight away, even in small-sided games in training, I was like, "No one wants to get beat here".
That comes from the manager, the culture, he demands that. It's incredible what the club has achieved under him.'

A demanding manager and, at home, an interior-designer wife who also has high expectations.

'She's always asking my opinion on different designs and I'm like, "They all look the same".

I struggle to help her.'

Rodriguez joined in a £10m deal from West Brom and Burnley are now unbeaten in six games

Rodriguez was about to enrol on a plumbing course at Burnley College before being offered his first professional contract.

Could that be a post-football pursuit, on his wife's payroll?

'She'd like that! But that was always the plan for me and my two best pals, to take over the world in the plumbing business if football didn't work out.

'I never did take football for granted, and I realise that more than ever now.

Even when I do finish my brother is already tapping me up for (amateur side) Burnley United, which I do fancy, if I can get a game!

'You can't just get rid of football. I'll carry on until my legs can't take me anymore.'


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