He may only have just returned from injury, but Rodrigo simply has to start when Leeds United welcome Chelsea in the Premier League on early Saturday afternoon.
The Spaniard has been out of action for Marcelo Bielsa’s side in recent weeks due to a groin injury picked up against Leicester, but came on as a second half substitute against West Ham last week.
After an impressive cameo against Arsenal earlier this season, former Leeds man Noel Whelan explained just how important Rodrigo is to this side: “He’s always looking for it, he’s never ever standing still, he’s always on the move and that’s what I like about him. He can’t be marked, he’s always looking for a space – very much the next Hernandez.
“He is a player that looks like he can make things happen. He’s very intelligent, he brings other people into play and makes space for them.”
Whelan also delivered his verdict on why the Spaniard should start against the Blues on Saturday, saying: “If you ask 100 Leeds fans who they would prefer in that position, Rodrigo or Tyler Roberts, they would all say Rodrigo all day long.
“He’s your star signing, your record signing. He’s the one player that if he is fit then you’ve got to have him in your side to give you that extra opportunity. Roberts didn’t do anything wrong but I just think it brings a different dimension to the game when Rodrigo’s out there.”
Given Roberts’ poor form in recent weeks, Rodrigo’s return to full fitness could not have come soon enough. The Spaniard has managed five goals in 23 games in all competitions in his debut campaign in English football, showing flashes of brilliance.
Dubbed “extraordinary” by former Barcelona boss Quique Setien, Rodrigo simply has to come into the starting line-up against Chelsea on Saturday afternoon.
With Leeds in a bit of rut – they’ve won just once in their past five games – bringing a real live-wire like Rodrigo into the team could be the kind of game-changing move to tip things in Leeds’ and Bielsa’s favour.