The 22 year old striker has scored five goals for clubs and country in the past week, and his future form will be vital to both.
This season was always going to be a crucial year in the development of Jordan Rhodes. The striker has stepped up a level to Championship football after a big money move to Blackburn Rovers, and also has made his first starts for Scotland in the past few months.
With all the challenges associated with those moves up a level, he would have hoped to at least be playing in settled sides, instead he has been inserted into teams where the manager has departed after extended spells of pressure from fans and the press.
As such, the teams Rhodes has been playing in have been marked by their lack of stability, but the striker has been largely unaffected, continuing to score goals for his sides. For Scotland Rhodes now has three goals in five appearances, for Blackburn he has nine goals in fourteen matches.
Five of those goals have come in his last two games. Firstly there was a midweek brace to win the match for Scotland 2-1 away in Luxembourg, then he picked up a hat trick in Blackburn’s 4-1 win at Peterborough.
The latter match saw Henning Berg finally pick up his first win for Rovers in his fourth game in charge. Blackburn are currently in 6th in the Championship, and the hope will be that both Berg and Rhodes can kick on from here and claim a place in the play-offs or even the automatic promotion berths.
Blackburn are looking to return to the top flight at the first time of asking, and the signing of Rhodes in the summer was a major part of that. The fee for the Scot could rise to £8 million, which is a lot of money at any level. The pressure of that fee, coupled with the distractions all around him at the club, makes Rhodes’ start all the more impressive.
There was great interest in Rhodes at the start of this season, as he attempted to step up to a higher level of football. Given the circumstances he has had to cope with for club and country, he has risen to the challenge admirably so far.
If he can continue the momentum from the last week over the next year, he could be an established international and Premier League player this time next year.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald