Rickie Lambert's Southampton exit a shame - Jay Rodriguez

Jay Rodriguez
Jay Rodriguez joined Southampton from Burnley in the summer of 2012

Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez says it was "a shame" to see strike partner Rickie Lambert leave for Liverpool.

The 32-year-old England international, who is in Roy Hodgson's squad for the World Cup in Brazil, left for Anfield last month in a £4m deal.

"He's the player I've learnt the most from," Rodriguez, who was Saints' top scorer with 17 goals last season, told BBC Radio Solent.

"It's a shame to see him go but in the same breath I'm so happy for him."

After working his way through English football's lower leagues, Lambert will return to his boyhood club 17 years after being released by the Reds, when he comes back from the World Cup.

Rodriguez earned his first call-up to the senior international side along with Southampton team-mates Adam Lallana and Lambert in November 2013 but missed out on the trip to Brazil after rupturing his anterior cruciate knee ligament in April.

"I'm motivated to get back," the former Burnley forward said. "I'm a great believer in everything happens for a reason. In the long run I'll look back at this and see it as a testing but also character building time.

"It's great to see Rickie and Adam doing well. I'm an England fan, so I'll be supporting the team and watching the games. I'm excited."

This summer has also seen Saints lose manager Mauricio Pochettino, who left to take charge at Tottenham, and Rodriguez was full of praise for the affect the Argentine had on the squad in the 16 months he was at St Mary's.

"The players loved him and he got the best out of myself and the majority of the team," added Rodriguez.

"You saw the results we got in the year and a half he was with us. I think he's a great manager and to have someone hands on like him would be great."

Following the recent success Saints have enjoyed, finishing eighth in the Premier League, former Southampton midfielder Matthew Le Tissier believes the side have the ability to attract an experienced manager but believes a swift appointment is crucial.

"The longer you go without a manager the more encouraged people become to come and pick from your squad," Le Tissier told BBC Radio Guernsey.

"Ronald Koeman's experience is excellent and Claudio Ranieri and Roberto Mancini have also been mentioned as possible replacements.

"They're all really big names which wouldn't have been mentioned with Southampton in the past."