Back in April 2014 when he damaged cruciate knee ligaments, few would have expected Jay Rodriguez to sit out the remainder of the calendar year.
He had suffered a serious injury, one which dashed his dreams of gracing the World Cup finals with England, but he would have hoped to return over the first-half of the 2014/15 campaign.
The Southampton striker is, however, still on the sidelines after suffering a setback in his rehabilitation.
The Wales international said in the Lancashire Telegraph: “I spoke to a lot of people that had come through that kind of injury. At the end of day 15 to 20 years ago you’d be lucky to get back out on the pitch. It’s one where you look for inspiration and there is a lot out there now.
“I spoke to Jay in the week and he was here for the Liverpool game. He’s struggling a bit with his knee but he’s another strong character and I’m sure he will come through it.”
While Southampton would prefer to have Rodriguez at their disposal, his absence has been a blessing in disguise.
There was plenty of talk over the summer that the 25-year-old’s efforts last season – which saw him net 17 times in all competitions – had drawn admiring glances from Premier League rivals Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
They were prepared to wait until January before passing judgement on Rodriguez’s recovery, but they will now be turning their attention elsewhere as there is no telling when the one-cap England international will be back in action or how much of a gamble his fitness would represent.