Ruben Rodrigues blueprint has to be at the forefront of Notts County's mind this summer: View | OneFootball

Ruben Rodrigues blueprint has to be at the forefront of Notts County's mind this summer: View | OneFootball

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Football League World

23 May 2024

Ruben Rodrigues blueprint has to be at the forefront of Notts County's mind this summer: View

Article image:Ruben Rodrigues blueprint has to be at the forefront of Notts County's mind this summer: View

This time, the Portuguese travelled to the capital with Oxford United, hopeful of realising the ambition told to him by the club upon his arrival from Meadow Lane in the summer.

Having produced a vital moment 368 days prior, as his bouncing effort looped over Ross Fitzsimons in extra-time to send the National League play-off final to penalties, it would be the 27-year-old who took centre stage once again under the Wembley arch.

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Ruben Rodrigues shines at Wembley once again

Heading into the contest, Bolton Wanderers emerged as the clear favourites to end their three-year stay in League One, but one defeat in their last eight league games for Des Buckingham's side had them swaggering into the home of football with confidence.

And that end of season momentum proved crucial in the tie, with Josh Murphy opening the scoring with a fine curled finish after being picked out by Rodrigues.

The U's lead was doubled shortly before the interval, with Oxford's number 20 involved again, this time plucking the ball out of the sky before firing a inch-perfect ball into the path of Murphy, who rounded Nathan Baxter to send the fans at the opposite end of the ground into complete delirium.

Rodrigues was given a standing ovation from his adoring new set of fans when he was replaced by Josh McEachran with the clock ticking down.

It stands as yet another remarkable achievement for the Magpies' former "Portuguese magnifico", who has gone from the National League to the second tier of English football, having arrived at these shores as an unknown midfielder from the Netherlands.

Ruben Rodrigues' career is proof Notts County should revisit transfer strategy

Since Alexander and Christoffer Reedtz's arrival at the club, it is fair to say that the majority of their decisions on transfers have been absolutely spot on.

Given the financial ongoings at the club at the time of their arrival in 2019, the Danish brothers focused on ensuring staff and players were paid before entering the transfer market to bolster the squad, with Rodrigues one of the first to arrive at Meadow Lane during their ownership.

The then 24-year-old arrived from Dutch side, Den Bosch, and was relatively unknown to most as the club made their first foray into the foreign market for the first time since their takeover.

During a difficult period for the Portuguese, who was playing in front of no fans for the early part of his Magpies career, supporters were able to get a glimpse of the midfielder in his second season at the club, and were treated to some fine individual performances.

Rodrigues would continue to shine, saving his best season till last by accumulating 34 goal involvements as Notts earned promotion at Wembley, leaving the club in the summer on a free transfer, which broke the hearts of many.

The midfielder's recent success with Oxford has brought to light the transfer strategy that brought him to England in the first place, with the Magpies having again tapped into the foreign market this year, and is something they should be looking to do again.

Alassana Jatta arrived from Viborg in January, and like Rodrigues, was unknown to the Notts supporters. But with five goals in 10 games, the Gambian has endeared himself to the fans and has made people question why the Danish brothers' links to foreign players have not been utilised more.

Of course, there are restrictions as to how many overseas players are allowed within your squad, but Notts have the ability to add one more to their ranks during the summer transfer window.

And given the way that Rodrigues has gone on to excel with Oxford United and the performances he showed in the black and white of Notts County, it may be worth revisiting that foreign market to unearth a potentially hidden gem.

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