Former Scotland manager Alex McLeish has tipped Rodrigo to excel for Leeds United next year, assuming he gets a good pre-season under his belt.
The Lowdown: Tough first season for Rodrigo
The 30-year-old joined the Whites last season, becoming the most expensive signing in the club’s history, costing £27million from Valencia.
The Latest: McLeish tips striker to come good
Despite this, someone who believes he will come good is McLeish, who told Football Insider that he could excel in 2021/22, highlighting the importance of pre-season:
“Massive. That’s massive, the pre-season element, for every player.
“I always felt when I had a disrupted pre-season, it took me about a month, six weeks to get to full speed again. I always did a little bit on my holidays. But I remember one season saying I’m going to have a break. It had been a tough season.
“I did nothing, then went back to pre-season and pulled a muscle early doors. I was playing catch up for a month or so. You need a full pre-season behind you the way that Bielsa trains these guys.
“In terms of hunting down of opposition as soon as they lose a ball, it doesn’t matter which side of the pitch. It can be high up, it can be in the midfield and it can be in the backline. These players have to be of a certain fitness.”
The Verdict: The quality is there
In fairness to Rodrigo, there were such high expectations from the moment he arrived that it was always going to be difficult to live up to them.
There is no denying that he has been a disappointment to date, but he is a striker with undoubted pedigree who just needs a run in the team, having scored eight goals for Spain, which is no mean feat for any player.
While the idea of Patrick Bamford not being first-choice for Leeds seems ludicrous, Rodrigo has the ability to push him for regular starting berths next season, assuming he can just stay fit – he started nearly 100 games across his last three seasons at Valencia.
Perhaps he could still become a hero at Elland Road, backing up that whopping £27million fee.
In other news, a pundit is excited about Leeds’ rumoured interest in a relegated Premier League player. Find out who it is here.
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