'Completely sure' - Rodrigo tips Leeds United teen to shine in Premier League when chance arises
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Mateo Joseph is nearing a full year at Leeds, having signed from Espanyol in January and made his Premier League debut before the World Cup break.
It might just have been a single minute of regulation time at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but Jesse Marsch's trust in the 19-year-old adds to the growing evidence and excitement around Joseph.
Eleven goals in eight Premier League 2 outings, and an assist to boot, have suggested that the teen will soon be too good for that level.
The jump to English top flight standard remains huge, of course, but Rodrigo, whose CV has international and top level European football on it, believes Joseph can make the leap.
"I'm really happy for him, he's doing really well this season in the Under 21s and I'm completely sure he will have more chances in the first team and will be able to show his quality during the season and the next year for Leeds," said the 31-year-old.
Rodrigo has taken the younger under his wing but believes that is simply part of the existing culture at Leeds United.
"I think in general we have a really great atmosphere in the dressing room," he said.
"Everyone treats everyone in a good way, with the new guys this season. We had so many new players, they adapt really well for the club, for the team. And it is very important to have people like Coops, Stuey, Forsh, Ayling in the squad that try to bond everyone together, try to make a really strong dressing room. Everyone tries to help everyone. Of course Mateo and I are closer because we are the same nationality, we spend more time together, same position as well."
Joseph is part of the club's training camp in Oliva this week, joining fellow Under 21s Darko Gyabi and Sonny Perkins, while the rest of their peers are working elsewhere in Spain.
Rodrigo is relishing the chance to see youngsters making their way into the team from the academy.
"I know that the club has a really clear way that they want to go," he said.
"You can see the squad, you have a mix of experienced players, players in the middle age and young players coming in from the Under 21s. Now we have Cry [Summerville], we have Sam [Greenwood], we have Joffy [Joe Gelhardt] and they are already proper first team players. It's nice to see the growing up of those guys during the two and a half years that I've been here since I arrived, and see they're now with us in the first 11 competing in the best league in the world. That's the natural way of football life, people getting older, new people coming and that never stops. It's very important."