'Crazy' - Joe Rodon issues unprecedented Leeds United verdict with season expectation view

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Joe Rodon has delivered an unprecedented Leeds United verdict in sizing up next season’s Championship promotion bid and Whites ‘expectation’.

Wales international centre-back Rodon is now one week into life as a permanent Leeds player having completed a £10m switch from Tottenham after last season’s superb loan spell. Leeds had already played their first game of the 2023-24 Championship campaign by the time Rodon initially joined the club on a season-long loan from Spurs, a move which was announced just two days before United’s second game of the new term at Birmingham City.

Rodon made his Whites debut as an 89th-minute substitute in the clash at Birmingham which ended in a 1-0 defeat and the defender says his late arrival and the general nature of the season as a whole need to be considered when assessing United’s 2023-24 campaign as a whole.

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Despite a series of superb displays from the Spurs loanee, the campaign ultimately ended in heartache for Leeds via a 1-0 defeat to Southampton in the Wembley Championship play-off final. For Leeds, even a haul of 90 points proved short of what was required for automatic promotion as Leicester City won the division with 97 points, just one more than runners-up Ipswich Town. A “crazy” season as Rodon puts it, one he says he has never experienced before.

RELISHING THE CHALLENGE: Joe Rodon, pictured before his Leeds United home debut against West Brom last August in the third game of the 2023-24 Championship campaign. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images.RELISHING THE CHALLENGE: Joe Rodon, pictured before his Leeds United home debut against West Brom last August in the third game of the 2023-24 Championship campaign. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images.
RELISHING THE CHALLENGE: Joe Rodon, pictured before his Leeds United home debut against West Brom last August in the third game of the 2023-24 Championship campaign. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images.

But the 26-year-old is now back for another crack at getting Leeds back to the top tier at the second attempt and hopes that last season’s experiences will stand his side in good stead upon embracing the expectation of getting the Whites back ‘where they belong’.

"I think you have got to weigh up the whole season,” said Rodon, assessing the agonising near miss last term. "I don't think I got here until the third or fourth game and the team I was playing in then was nothing like it finished at the end of last season.

"You can look at last season, there were loads of ifs and buts but it was a crazy season, I have never seen that or been part of something like that before. We just fell short but obviously you learn from things like this and it is only going to make you stronger going forward."

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Certainly as far as the bookmakers are concerned, there is now no stronger team than Leeds heading for the new season, Daniel Farke’s Whites clear market leaders ahead of relegated sides Burnley, Luton Town and Sheffield United with Middlesbrough sandwiched in between the Hatters and Blades. Rodon knows that Leeds expects and is relishing the challenge and the associated pressure.

"I think when you come to a club like this, every player understands the role they have to play and the pressure that comes with it,” he said. "We all know where this team belongs, where this club belongs and that is something we want to look forward to and get back to."

Pressed on expectation also bringing pressure, Rodon admitted: "Everywhere we go, it seems the stadium they get their full capacity. It only just adds to how great this club is and I am just really excited for the future and the season ahead."

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