Jordan Rhodes interview: Back where he belongs at Huddersfield Town after difficult Sheffield Wednesday spell

THEY SAY never go back, but there are always honourable exceptions.

Jordan Rhodes’s reunion with Huddersfield Town – the club where he forged a fearsome predatory reputation – has been warm, welcoming and as perfectly timed as the trademark runs he regularly made to get across his marker and score surfeit of goals in his first prolific spell at the John Smith’s Stadium.

His opening stint at Town was goal-laden and carefree. He returns as a senior player in need of revitalising his career after a fraught time at Sheffield Wednesday and in some respects, it feels like he is starting over again.

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The devout hope of all and sundry is that the familiar surroundings of a club he knows well and the collective embrace from a group of supporters who have always carried a bit of a torch for him will rewind the clock for a striker who, at his best, has an uncanny knack of finding the net.

HAPPY DAYS: Sheffield Wednesday's Jordan Rhodes (left) celebrates a goal. Picture: Isaac Parkin/PA

Rhodes’ genuine sense of enthusiasm for the task in hand is something you normally associate with a player at the start of his career, not someone who is 31.

It points to his happiness at a move which enabled him to follow his head and his heart. And a sense of relief.

Rhodes told The Yorkshire Post: “It is about coming back to a place where I found happiness previously and am currently finding happiness and doing the best I can in the rest of the time I have left as a professional footballer and making the most of it.

“I will really chuck myself into being a Huddersfield player.

THE GOOD OLD DAYS: Huddersfield Town's Jordan Rhodes celebrates his goal against MK Dons in May 2012. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“Waking up every morning and coming in here every day and putting on the Huddersfield Town training gear once again fills me with great pride and it is a great challenge.

“I am waking up every day and really looking forward to immersing myself in the Huddersfield Town challenge once again.

“During the off season and thinking about coming back to Huddersfield was a challenge that put a smile on my face. I cannot put it into words really, just a strange sensation and feeling.

“I will work as hard as I can and enjoy every minute of being a Huddersfield player once again.”

Huddersfield Town manager Carlos Corberan. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA

Plenty has changed since Rhodes left to join Blackburn Rovers in a then club-record £8m move in August, 2012, but some things have stayed the same.

Scores of players and several managers have come and gone, while Huddersfield have enjoyed a fleeting taste of the big time and also flirted with a return to League One. But some familiar faces still remain.

For Rhodes, the challenge of helping Town establish themselves in the Championship is also the same as it was when he first joined the club in the summer of 2009 – at a time when they were a League One club with aspirations of regaining a place in the second tier.

He added: “It reminds me of going back 12 years ago since I first walked through the doors here and driving into Huddersfield and seeing the landmarks and stadium.

Jordan Rhodes scores for Huddersfield Town against Burnley in August 2021. Picture: Tony Johnson.

“Some things haven’t changed, but other things have changed a great deal at the same time.

“It puts a smile on my face to see familiar surroundings and familiar faces from the first time around.

“I know Danny (Ward) and there’s Brooky (Andy Brook) the kit man and his wife Nicola. It is strange how time has passed and you rekindle the friendships that you used to have once upon a time. It’s great to be back.

“It is a real warming environment anyway and there are still staff here from before I arrived. It’s also a really professional set-up and everything is done really properly and I cannot say enough good words.”

The club’s eighth all-time top goalscorer after notching an outstanding 87 goals in 148 games in his first stint at the club, Rhodes is aiming to significantly add to that tally over the course of his three-year contract at Town, which runs until June, 2024.

There are those who wonder how he will fit into Carlos Corberan’s high-pressing, high-energy system, but with Rhodes, appearances can be deceptive.

A player who scores goals, yes. but also one who takes pride in other aspects of his game as well, in terms of running statistics and work rate.

“It is something that I do take pride in,” added Rhodes.

“I do take care of myself off the field and try to eat the right things and live my life right in the off-season and I never stop.

“I keep working hard and keep as fit as I possibly can and I have always prided myself on my physical output in games in terms of my yardage and mileage.

“I might not necessarily be the fastest guy out there, but I will work as hard as I can to do my bit for the team to try and get us as many points as we can and hopefully that will be appreciated by everybody too.”