By Joe Ellis

4th Jan, 2023 | 8:29pm

BBC pundit slams Rodrigo for high-foot challenge in 1st half of Leeds United v West Ham

Rodrigo’s feet have been a main source of goals for Leeds United but they were in the wrong place early on against West Ham United.

The Spaniard was getting stuck into challenges from the get-go at Elland Road but went in a bit too high on Hammers captain Declan Rice with the game less than 10 minutes old.

Luckily, he did not properly catch the England international fully but the incident still saw him given a yellow card and Neil Redfearn wasn’t happy with the tackle.

“[Rodrigo] was just making sure Declan was fine,” Redfearn said on BBC radio commentary [4 January, 07:53pm]. “[He] had a look at him and made sure there was no claret.

“[Referee David Coote] looks to him and asks the physios on and then he pulls Rodrigo aside and says, ‘that was a bit out of order, your foot was too high’ and gives him a yellow card.”

Harsh

Given how early it was in the match, some referees might have let Rodrigo off with a warning given it was a borderline yellow at most.

But in a way, you have to credit the referee for being consistent and any further challenges of that ilk should be punished in the same fashion no matter the minute it happens.

It isn’t ideal for Jesse Marsch to have his striker booked so early on as it could prohibit the pressing game he likes to play so much as he knows one mistimed tackle sees his striker sent off.

And with Patrick Bamford still not fit enough to be involved, and certainly not to play a full game, he can’t afford to lose the Spaniard right now so the foot may have to be taken off the gas a little bit.

It will be a difficult balancing act now, though, because three points are there for the taking and they would go a long way towards Premier League safety.

In other Leeds United news, Victor Orta may have questions to ask as Napoli want to sign a player he sold last summer at Thorp Arch.