In what was an enthralling contest, Leeds United shared the spoils with Newcastle in their Premier League clash on Friday night.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side got off to the best possible start when Raphinha put them ahead before Allan Saint-Maximin levelled things up before the break.
And, despite both sides having several chances to win the game, neither were able to convert, and a point apiece seemed to be a fair reflection of the night.
While Raphinha’s long-range shot come cross was the one real moment of magic from the Whites, it was Rodrigo’s performance that arguably stole the show for Bielsa.
The Spaniard has had a disappointing start to the new Premier League season with some Leeds fans in particular slamming him after his performance against Manchester United on the opening day.
In fact, here on FFC, we even called on Bielsa to drop him from the starting line-up for the game against the Magpies last night – a poll done on that article even saw 58% of a selection of Leeds fans agree that Rodrigo should be dropped too (122 votes to 89).
But in an impressive all-round performance that displayed both energy and creativity, Rodrigo proved why the Leeds boss continues to keep the faith with his club record signing.
As per Sofascore, he had three attempts on goal, completed two out of his three dribbles (the joint-most of any Leeds player), and provided three key passes (again, the most of any his teammates).
It was no surprise then that while on co-commentary duty for Sky Sports, Jamie Carragher was quick to praise the former Valencia man, saying he was “outstanding” after providing a superb cross-field ball to Raphinha, and saying he had “been the best player for Leeds” after setting up Patrick Bamford in the second-half.
And, writing in his post-match player ratings for Leeds Live, Beren Cross gave him a seven, saying: “Much better from the Spain international who, as we have seen in the past, does fare better against lesser opposition.
“Shots were not always accurate enough or powerful enough to test Darlow, but popped up in good areas and played his part when Leeds were dangerous.”
Rodrigo’s performance sent a message that he can still play a big part for Leeds, even in potentially in that more attacking role just behind Bamford.
It was a display that silenced some of the doubters, but it’s one that he needs to build on more consistently over the coming weeks and months.
Bielsa will no doubt be thrilled with how the Spaniard performed last night.