SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Owls boss calls for time as hot Rodri eyes debut

New boy: Rodri is in line to feature for the Owls against Birmingham tonight.
New boy: Rodri is in line to feature for the Owls against Birmingham tonight.
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DAVE Jones has warned Sheffield Wednesday’s supporters to not expect too much too soon from new signing Rodri.

The Spanish striker, who joined the Owls on a season-long loan deal from Barcelona B - the Catalan giants’ reserve side - yesterday, goes straight into the squad for tonight’s clash with Birmingham City at Hillsborough.

Having been granted international clearance, Rodri - full name Rodrigo Ríos Lozano - is in contention to start up front alongside the in-form Chris O’Grady, meaning Nejc Pecnik may drop to the substitutes’ bench.

Speaking to the press corps at the club’s Middlewood training ground yesterday, Jones said Wednesday asked about Rodri’s availability “tongue in cheek” .

The Owls boss is confident the 22-year-old will make a big impact in English football but is acutely aware it may take him time to acclimatise to his new surroundings.

He told The Star: “Rodri doesn’t speak English fluently so we have got to get an interpreter in. We are quite lucky because we have got two players who can speak Spanish so that helps.

“If they [new signings] come in and set off straight away, you are lucky. It does take a settling-in period. You are hoping that will be sooner rather than later.

“It doesn’t matter whether you have paid five pounds for someone or £50 million, they do take time to settle and to get to know their teammates.”

Rodri started his career with Sevilla FC, where he helped the youth team win the Copa del Rey, defeating Athletic Bilbao in the final. He notched 28 goals in 54 appearances after moving to Sevilla B before graduating to the senior set-up.

Rodri, who has twice represented the Spanish Under-21s side, eventually moved to Barcelona B where he bagged eight goals in 35 outings.

Jones, who claims he is chasing another player who is also being tracked by Barcelona, said: “We didn’t think we would get Rodri or Barcelona would let him out. We took a punt. We asked and we didn’t get a flat ‘no’. Rodri wants to play and he thinks he should be in Barcelona’s first team but but he has got one or two who are just ahead of him at the moment!

Of Rodri’s attributes, Jones added: “He is a good player who we feel we can do well at this level and beyond. We feel it might take a little bit of time for him to settle in but we feel we have got a player who will do really well.

“He is quick, sharp and very clever. We think he will complement what we already have here. He is a goalscorer.

“He will bring an experience from one of the best clubs in the world and if we don’t use that or learn from it then we are not doing our jobs properly.”

Rodri, who will wear the number 15 shirt, is itching to get involved, saying: “I am very happy. I come here with a lot of excitement and I want to start as soon as possible.

“Everyone knows the standard of player at Barcelona but in the Barcelona B side, it is full of players with much potential - very talented guys.

“I am very happy to be here and I am confident I will get a lot of chances and I am confident I can score goals to help the club.”

Jones has not ruled out bringing Rodri in on a permanent basis.

“When you speak to Rodri, you can see there is a hunger in his eyes and a desire that he wants to do well,” added Jones.