Marcelo Bielsa makes exciting Rodrigo prediction and justification of record Leeds United purchase price tag
MARCELO Bielsa says Leeds United's record signing Rodrigo will be able to show his full talents this season without having to wait longer.
Leeds splashed out a club record fee of around £27m to sign Spanish international Rodrigo from Valencia last August but the forward has been restricted to making 12 league starts.
Bielsa says the Spaniard arrived at the Whites in his "best version" but the 30-year-old then contracted coronavirus in November and did not return to the starting line up until the home clash against West Ham United on December 11.
Bielsa said the forward was then at his "best level" before picking up a groin injury in the early stages of the fixture at Leicester City at the end of January and the setback left Rodrigo sidelined until the 2-0 loss at West Ham at the beginning of last month.
The Spaniard was introduced as a 60th-minute substitute for Tyler Roberts against the Hammers and then replaced the injured Patrick Bamford in the 35th minute of the following weekend's draw at home to Chelsea in which Rodrigo himself was then taken off for Mateusz Klich with 11 minutes left.
A fresh setback then ruled Rodrigo out of the subsequent clash at Fulham before the March international break but the 30-year-old is now back available and took to social media recently to re-affirm his commitment to the Whites.
Leeds signed Rodrigo on a four-year-deal - but Bielsa has refuted suggestions that the record purchase might only be at his best by the following campaign.
Asked if fans might only see the best of Rodrigo next season, Bielsa said: "No, immediately he will be able to show all the resources that he has."
Pressed on Rodrigo having suffered from Covid and injury on the back of also not having a pre-season, Bielsa reasoned: "He arrived in his best version.
"He was at his best level prior to injuring himself at Leicester. The level he was at during that period was a very good one. What he was giving to the team with the way he can unbalance an opponent was all very positive.
"For me, Rodrigo has already shown how important he can be to Leeds.
"He has also justified with the conditions and the abilities he has, his transfer fee.
"We hope to have him healthy for a considerable amount of time.
"If this happens then he will be able to show his conditions, his abilities very quickly.
"For me, it's very difficult to obtain a player of his qualities in the scenario of football at the moment.
"What happens is that when a player goes a period without playing, it's difficult to absorb."
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Thank you Laura Collins