Leeds United have suffered a major injury blow ahead of their Premier League clash against Aston Villa on Saturday with news that Rodrigo will once again be missing from action.
The Athletic’s Phil Hay confirmed via Marcelo Bielsa’s pre-match press conference that the Spain international has not fully recovered from the groin injury he picked up early on against Leicester, despite seemingly posting on Instagram last week that he was back on the training pitch.
Speaking after he initially picked up the problem, Bielsa revealed: “Rodrigo fell and his legs separated and caused an elongation more than usual and this caused the injury. I saw a picture of the position both of his feet ended up in and the difference between them was different to what we would expect.”
Rodrigo’s continued absence from the starting line-up comes as a major blow for the Leeds boss, who has had to turn to the unfancied Tyler Roberts in recent games.
And, while the Welshman has done well to try and fill Rodrigo’s boots (he picked up an assist against Southampton last time out), it’s a tall order to ask someone who’s managed just seven goals in 69 games to be a consistent and reliable performer for the Whites.
While Rodrigo hasn’t exactly set the world alight at Elland Road, he brings some important qualities to the table for Bielsa, namely being Patrick Bamford’s chief supporting act in attack and also being a supplier of chances too.
In his debut season in English football, the Spaniard ranks third for shots per game for Leeds and joint-fourth for key passes, with Tyler Roberts eighth and 11th respectively for those same categories.
The drop off between the two is huge, and it’s exactly why Bielsa will be worried about the former Valencia man continuing to be out of first-team action.
With the Villa game too soon for his comeback, it’s up to Roberts – a man who was linked with an exit to the Championship just last month – to try and step into Rodrigo’s shoes.