Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has tipped Rodrigo to shine for the Whites next season, despite a tricky first year at Elland Road.
The Lowdown: Tough first season
Big things were expected of Rodrigo, but he has experienced an underwhelming season, scoring just four goals in 25 appearances. One of those did come in last Saturday’s 3-1 win over Tottenham, though, suggesting that he may have rid himself of his injury problems and rediscovering his confidence.
The Latest: Rodrigo backed to come good
Whelan is confident that Rodrigo will turn things around at Elland Road, telling Football Insider that he could explode next season. He said:
“It was a brilliant finish from a brilliant player on Saturday. It was emphatic and you could not tell that he had been out for that long.
“If anyone deserved something to go right for him it was Rodrigo. I think he really needed that goal, more than anybody in that squad. He needed that for his confidence, his self-belief and his general happiness at the club.
“He has been in and out this season because of Covid, injuries etc. There is nobody that needed it more than him.
“I really hope he now kicks on until the end of the season. If he finishes strongly, I expect him to show everyone why we broke our transfer record to sign him.
“He needs to prove to the fans that £29million was well spent. Come next season I expect to see a lot more from him and that is what we need. If you are going to be the top earner at a club and the record signing, you have got to prove you’re worth it.”
The Verdict: Plenty more still to come
Assuming Rodrigo stays put this summer, there is no reason why he can’t be a key player for Leeds next season. His pedigree speaks for itself, with eight goals in 25 caps for Spain, not to mention being prolific in La Liga, enjoying 100 goal involvements for Valencia.
Patrick Bamford needs competition in attack to ease the burden on him, and a fit Rodrigo could battle the 27-year-old in 2021/22, hopefully justifying the money spent on him (along with Whelan’s faith) and also meaning that Leeds won’t need to sign another striker.
In other news, one pundit has been talking up the prospect of Leeds signing a left-back this summer. Find out who it is here.
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