After securing an impressive 3-1 win at home to Spurs last weekend, Leeds will be hoping to make it back-to-back victories in the Premier League when they take on Burnley on Saturday afternoon.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side ran out comfortable winners over the north Londoners thanks to goals from Stuart Dallas, Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo, and it’s the latter who the Leeds manager must now finally unleash from the off.
Dubbed as “extraordinary” by former Barcelona boss Quique Setien, Rodrigo hasn’t been able to hit the ground running at Elland Road; and while he was quick to dismiss speculation that he wanted a move back to Spain, it has still been a rather disappointing debut campaign for him with the Whites.
He has managed just four goals and one assist in 23 games, while perhaps more frustratingly, his time in Yorkshire has been disrupted by niggling injuries. He last started a match against Leicester at the end of January.
However, after making a couple of cameos in the last two games after returning from his latest issue – including that goal-scoring display off the bench against Spurs a week ago – a clash against Burnley is surely the perfect time for Rodrigo to now start.
The Clarets have long been known as a team who are hard to break down under Sean Dyche, and the Spaniard’s movement off the ball could be the key to unlocking their defence.
Indeed, after an impressive performance against Arsenal earlier in the campaign, former Leeds striker Noel Whelan explained just how important Rodrigo is to Bielsa’s side, telling Football Insider: “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 insisted that the £100,000-per-week Spaniard should be starting ahead of Tyler Roberts, 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.”
Now that he’s back fit and has a couple of substitute appearances under his belt, Bielsa must unleash Rodrigo on Burnley. Given that he arguably has a point to prove to his manager, he will want to end his first season at Leeds on a high.
He could well be a game-changer for the Whites when they make the trip to Turf Moor this weekend.