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On the Rhodes to Glory

In the first of a series of articles looking at the most exciting young talent emerging on the English football scene, Total Football's Steven Gyford takes a look at Huddersfield and Scotland striker, Jordan Rhodes.

In recent seasons, English-born Rhodes, now 21, has emerged as one the hottest prospects in the Football League with a series of impressive performances and a goal-scoring record to match. The Scotland international came under the media spotlight this January transfer window, with a host of Premier League and Championship clubs supposedly chasing his signature.

Ex-Huddersfield manager Lee Clark managed to beat off the interest of many clubs, reportedly rejecting offers of around £3million. Rhodes proved to be Clark’s best signing during his spell with the club, the fact that he managed to keep the striker at the Galpharm will surely please his successor, Simon Grayson.

Since his move from Ipswich in 2009, Rhodes has twice been the club’s top-scorer, notching up an impressive 35 league goals in the previous two seasons. Even more impressive however, is his goal tally this season. Following Saturday’s 3-2 victory against Brentford, in which Rhodes scored the winner, the 21-year-old’s goals tally stands at 29 for the season, including several hat-tricks.

Yet more impressive is Rhodes’ ability to score all types of goals in a variety of different situations, typified by his five goals against Wycombe Wanderers earlier in January.

International recognition 

Such a remarkable goal-scoring record has not gone unnoticed either, as Rhodes caught the attention of Scotland Under-21 boss Billy Stark who gave him his chance at international level. Rhodes repaid the faith shown in him by Stark, by scoring six goals in six games for the under-21s, including a spectacular hat-trick against Luxembourg.

Unsurprisingly, the Terriers starlet impressed Scotland head coach Craig Levein who included him in the full national side for a friendly against Cyprus, which Scotland went on to win 2-1. With the January transfer window appearing as a mere speck in the rear mirror of Huddersfield Town’s promotion drive, the club will now be able to divert their attentions from simply keeping Jordan Rhodes, to keeping up his remarkable form.

With the Terriers sitting pretty in fourth place in League One, just behind local rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United, Huddersfield Town certainly look like promotion material; lest we forget their astonishing 43-game unbeaten streak, which was somewhat predictably ended by league-leaders Charlton.

Although the effects of changing manager at such a crucial stage of the season are yet to be seen, Grayson has a proven track record at this level and will undoubtedly set the club out to compete for the illustrious second automatic promotion slot.

It would probably be fair to say that on an uncharacteristically quiet transfer deadline day, one of the best bits of business was the retention of Jordan Rhodes, a player who is clearly destined for great things in the coming years.

By Steven Gyford

Next Time: Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha.


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