Leeds United have been handed a potential blow ahead of their Premier League clash against Fulham tonight with the news that Rodrigo could be missing.
The Spain international missed the entire month of February with a groin injury he had picked up in the 3-1 victory over Leicester, which saw him forced off early in the first half.
The £100,000-a-week ace only returned to first-team action when he came on against West Ham earlier this month, before being involved in one of those rare instances of being substituted after coming on as a substitute himself versus Chelsea.
Now, The Athletic’s Phil Hay has delivered some damaging news about that Leeds blow, revealing that Rodrigo is a “doubt with a fresh muscular problem”.
While it is a “doubt”, there is surely no way Marcelo Bielsa will want to risk Rodrigo potentially doing even more damage to his muscle and even tearing it by forcing him out onto the pitch against Fulham.
The Leeds boss will surely take a more reserved approach with a player who has only just come back from an injury, and that will no doubt mean Rodrigo misses out on today’s game.
After an impressive appearance against Arsenal earlier in the campaign, former Whites man Noel Whelan explained just how important Rodrigo is to this side, telling Football Insider: “He’s always looking for it, he’s never ever standing still, he’s always on the move and that’s what I like about him. He can’t be marked, he’s always looking for a space – very much the next Hernandez.
“He is a player that looks like he can make things happen. He’s very intelligent, he brings other people into play and makes space for them.”
Whelan also delivered his verdict on why the Spaniard should have started against Chelsea last week, saying: “If you ask 100 Leeds fans who they would prefer in that position, Rodrigo or Tyler Roberts, they would all say Rodrigo all day long.
“He’s your star signing, your record signing. He’s the one player that if he is fit then you’ve got to have him in your side to give you that extra opportunity. Roberts didn’t do anything wrong but I just think it brings a different dimension to the game when Rodrigo’s out there.”
It’s exactly why Bielsa must be worried at seeing the Spaniard go down with yet another injury and potentially missing another game for the Whites.
While he hasn’t exactly set Elland Road alight with his performances, he does perform that key role of joining Patrick Bamford in attack and offering a “different dimension” as Whelan says.
Meanwhile, Leeds must start this “rock” tonight…