Paul Robinson: Rodrigo will start up front for Leeds United v West Ham
We’re delighted to welcome former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson as our exclusive columnist as each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Leeds United.
Paul Robinson expects Rodrigo to spearhead the Leeds United attack and play in place of Patrick Bamford against West Ham on Saturday.
Bamford, 28, has been ruled out of the Elland Road showdown with an ankle injury, leaving Marcelo Bielsa with yet another issue to mull over before kick-off.
Tyler Roberts started up front against Fulham as Leeds won in the Carabao Cup clash at Craven Cottage on Tuesday but the Welsh international failed to impress.
Young striker Joe Gelhardt came off the bench at Fulham to make his senior debut for the Whites but Robinson feels it may be Rodrigo’s chance to start in the centre-forward role when West Ham are in town this weekend.
Speaking to MOT Leeds News, Robinson said: “I don’t think Gelhardt will start, I think Rodrigo will play up there. We’ve seen that before.
“It was great to see the young lads get opportunities against Fulham but even with Bamford out against West Ham, the youngsters will be on the bench.
“As experience tells us, Bielsa likes to play his older and more experienced players so with Bamford out, I think we’ll probably see Rodrigo play down the middle.
“Raphinha and Roberts are other options but I think Rodrigo would play there before them.
“It’s great to see the youngsters getting the opportunity but I just don’t see them ready to start in the Premier League just yet.”
Rodrigo’s form has been under the microscope this season with the Spain international struggling before he played a stormer at Newcastle last Friday.
The ex-Valencia ace can play as a striker but has been deployed mainly as a midfielder by Bielsa since joining the Whites last year.
It’ll be interesting to see what Bielsa does on Saturday against West Ham but we would rather see Rodrigo up front instead of Roberts.
In other Leeds United news, a Premier League debut has been mooted for this youngster at the weekend.