JORDAN RHODES is determined to pick the positives after missing out on the Olympics.
Huddersfield Town’s Scotland international striker was on the Team GB stand-by list, with Daniel Sturridge’s illness paving the way to possible involvement in the Games.
But the Chelsea striker recovered, and as Stuart Pearce’s side were taking on Senegal at Old Trafford last night, Rhodes remained in Scotland with the rest of the Town squad.
Having opened his pre-season goal account with a trademark header in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at Kilmarnock, last season’s 40-goal hot shot continues the countdown to the Championship when Simon Grayson’s side head for Hibs tomorrow (kick-off is 2.00).
“It was a huge honour even to have been considered for the Olympics, and I’ll be supporting both the men’s and women’s teams all the way,” said the 22-year-old.
“Taking part in the Games would have been a great learning experience, but it wasn’t to be, so I’ll be giving my full focus to continuing our pre-season preparations.
“Had I been involved, I’d have been away from the club for a period of time, so at least I will get a good run of training and friendlies under my belt, and that’s important.”
Rhodes, going into his fourth season with Town and aiming to add to his 85-goal tally, was delighted to notch at Rugby Park.
“It’s always good to see one go in, and I thought that as a team, we did okay,” added the former Ipswich man.
“We passed it about well at times, and you have to remember that because their season starts earlier than ours (against Dundee on Saturday week), they are that bit ahead of us in terms of fitness and sharpness.
“They are a good side who won the Scottish League Cup last season, and I thought we adapted to the speed they played at pretty well.”
The talk among the home press contingent was of Rhodes’ possible involvement in Scotland’s forthcoming World Cup campaign.
But the player, who has one full cap and eight at Under 21 level, dealt with questions of playing for Craig Levein’s side and the inevitable speculation over his future at Town as skilfully as he headed home the 39th-minute goal which cancelled out Lee Johnson’s 20th-minute opener.
“If a call to the full squad came, it would be a huge bonus, but at the moment, my thoughts are with the 21s and the (European Championship qualifying) campaign we’ve got on.
“We have two games remaining, and we know that if we win both, we’ll get to the finals in Israel next summer.
“I know the 21s missed out in the play-offs two years ago, when (Town teammate) Scott Arfield was involved, so to get there this time would be fantastic.”
Asked about his thoughts on reports that Celtic, as well as a host of English clubs, are interested in his services, Rhodes responded: “I don’t pay too much attention to the stories.
“I’m proud to be a professional player for Huddersfield Town, and I’m ready to continue giving my all for the club.”