Leeds United: Joe Rodon recall v QPR makes perfect sense as 'limitations' claim made
Leeds United manager Daniel Farke left Joe Rodon out of his starting line-up against Southampton last weekend, but the German may want to reconsider his stance for the visit of QPR on Wednesday [4 October].
Rodon was an unused substitute at St Mary’s on Saturday [30 September], despite being available after serving a one-game ban for his red card against Hull City.
Pascal Struijk and Liam Cooper were instead given the nod in the heart of defence, but it was not the best of days for Leeds’ defence as they shipped three times in the opening 35 minutes en route to a 3-1 defeat.
Farke suggested that leaving out Rodon was not the reason his side’s six-match unbeaten Championship run came to an end, while defending his selection after sticking with the players that eased to a 3-0 win at Watford just a week earlier.
But recalling Rodon against QPR makes sense on the face of it, and not just on the basis of the team’s defensive display versus Southampton.
The West London side will likely start with three players up top, including 20-year-old Sinclair Armstrong.
As pointed out by West London Sport writer Ian McCullough, in an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post [4 October], Armstrong is “largely employed to chase balls over the top and use his pace and power to unsettle defenders”.
That approach is said to have “been effective but has its obvious limitations against experienced centre-backs”.
Rodon, even aged only 25, very much fits into the “experienced centre-back” category, having played at Premier League and Ligue 1 level, not to mention at a World Cup and European Championship finals with Wales.
The Tottenham loanee is also well equipped at dealing with attackers of all types of stature, leading the way as he does among Leeds players in the Championship this season for aerial balls won per game (3.8) and clearances per game (3.3) [WhoScored].
Whether it is Struijk or Cooper that is left out to accommodate Rodon, it makes sense for Farke to reintroduce the Welshman at Elland Road against QPR.
In other Leeds United news, a Sky Sports pundit has made a “holding them back” claim after the weekend draw at Southampton.