JORDAN RHODES rammed home a message to former club Ipswich – and the Premier League in general – on Saturday when he struck his 50th league goal for Blackburn, his 23rd goal in 44 games this season. I said last summer that I wouldn’t be surprised if a Premier League club or two made Rovers an offer for their prolific 24-year-old Scotland international striker, who was sold to Huddersfield by my former club Ipswich in 2009. I’m thinking precisely the same as we go into this summer.
Some people may have raised their eyebrows when Rovers shelled out £8million for Rhodes in 2012 – but I didn’t. One of the last things I said to chairman David Sheepshanks when I vacated the Ipswich job was: ‘Look after young Rhodes. He’s got what it takes.” I said so knowing there were doubts within the Academy about the lad’s talent. Sure enough, when Roy Keane – who was in the crowd on Saturday as Rhodes struck against Ipswich – took charge at Portman Road, the player was transferred. I took the lad on at Ipswich on the recommendation of his dad, Andy, my goalkeeper coach, taking him from Barnsley’s Academy after being convinced inside 20 minutes of a trial match. He has gone from strength to strength and is a player who, if he gets the ball while facing goal, you feel will score. He did that regularly for Huddersfield and he’s been doing the same for Blackburn. Surely it cannot be long before he gets the chance at the top level.