By George Overhill

13th Aug, 2022 | 4:58pm

Rodrigo now a star, Dan James hits new embarrassing low - Leeds United player ratings v Southampton

Leeds United threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Southampton in a very uneven display on the south coast, to snatch a draw from the jaws of a win.

It had been a disjointed opening half, with the key sequence a last-ditch tackle from Diego Llorente as Stuart Armstrong was breaking away which led to a lengthy VAR review for a possible red card that the Spaniard survived by small margins, and the injury curse striking Patrick Bamford yet again.

Rodrigo took the captain’s armband when the Englishman went off, and took the game over after the break with two goals to go with his strike in the opener, before some calamitous defending saw Joe Aribo pull a goal back and Kyle Walker-Peters complete the comeback.

Here, MOT Leeds News rates the Leeds United players out of 10 for their performances at St Mary’s.

Illan Meslier – 6

Key in the opener, disappointing here. Was barely called into meaningful action until the home side pulled a goal back. Came out to block Aribo who turned him entirely to fire home. Didn’t make himself big enough for the equaliser and will be disappointed Walker-Peters found the net from a tight angle. Did make an important late save to preserve the point.

Rasmus Kristensen – 4

Another uneven showing for the larger-than-life Dane. Is perhaps going under the radar with all of the focus on the other full-back spot but was nowhere to be seen when Armstrong burst down his flank to assist Aribo.

Robin Koch – 5

Not commanding enough. Was drawn in and caught out of position for the first Southampton goal. Looks okay when there is not major pressure, but as soon as there is he succumbs to the same disarray as the others.

Diego Llorente – 5

Was given the benefit of the doubt on a long VAR check for his last man challenge on Armstrong that could have put the Whites down to 10 after 15 minutes. In no man’s land for Aribo’s goal and couldn’t get a stretching toe on the ball across. Looks a different player when Liam Cooper is beside him, who this side badly need back.

Pascal Struijk – 5

Say what you like about the stand-in left-back, he puts himself about. For a natural central defender he was again better in attack than defensively. Crashed through Che Adams in the air just before the first drinks break but flicked the ball on to assist Rodrigo’s second. As Southampton got back into the game it was again apparent how easy it is to get him behind him. Remains a concern until someone is brought in or Junior Firpo returns.

Marc Roca (off for Forshaw ’88) – 3

Another anonymous display. Either he is the sort of completely unsung player that suffers from all of his good work going unnoticed or he is struggling to adapt to the Premier League. Doesn’t look to be up to speed yet, which was a risk highlighted upon his signing. Needs to improve.

Tyler Adams – 6

Similar to the first game he outperformed his central midfield partner. Wasn’t dominant but nipped in with some sharp interventions to break up opposition moves, but if Roca wasn’t struggling to much there might be more scrutiny on him.

Brenden Aaronson – 6

Not quite up to the standards of his man-of-the-match debut but still looked like a very tidy threat breaking forward against this Saints side. However, he disappeared a bit as they grew back into it.

Rodrigo – Man of the Match – 9

Suddenly looking like a real threat in this side under Marsch, leading from the front as stand-in skipper. Slipped a lovely near-post strike in to make it two in two in the Premier League, then nodded the second from virtually on the goalline 15 minutes later. Dare White fans dream that he is finally becoming the key player his transfer fee meant he was supposed to be?

Jack Harrison (off for Klich ’84) – 7

At his creative best in attack but crucial mistake let the home side equalise. Did brilliantly to find space in tight space and play in James in the first half, then whipped in a beauty of a ball from the left immediately after the break for the opener to be turned home. Fell asleep to let a lovely through-ball inside him for Walker-Peters to level. Booked late in the first.

Patrick Bamford (off for James ’28) – 5

Exactly what fans were worried about. Another injury saw him withdrawn midway through the first half and with Joe Gelhardt also missing from the squad it surely shows the club have to add a striker before the window closes. Another edgy wait to find out how long he is missing for. There had been encouraging signs in the Wolves win, but didn’t make an impact before the all-too familiar sight of him going off injured.

SUBSTITUTES

Dan James – (on for Bamford ’28) (off for Sinisterra ’84) – 2

May never come together for him in this Leeds United side. Not what fans wanted to see when he came on in attack. Tested Gavin Bazunu soon after coming on to suggest a goal threat that he is going to need if he is pressed into action up front again. Same old story as he carried some threat but didn’t actual produce results. Could be instructive that he was taken off again, which is embarrassing for any player.

Mateusz Klich – (on for Harrison ’84)

Luis Sinisterra – (on for James ’84)

Adam Forshaw – (on for Roca ’88)

In other Leeds United news, one player’s agent has spoken out on his future amid heavy exit rumours.