By Olly Allen

18th Nov, 2021 | 10:50am

Jermaine Beckford: Leeds striker Rodrigo is 'the real deal'

Leeds United striker Rodrigo is “the real deal”, according to former Whites star Jermaine Beckford.

The Spanish international failed to score in his first seven Premier League appearances of the campaign, but has now scored twice in his last three matches.

He netted a 94th-minute penalty under intense pressure to earn a 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers, before scoring a long-range winner in a 2-1 victory over Norwich City.

Speaking on the Official Leeds United Podcast, Sky Sports pundit Beckford said: “Rodrigo, for me, is one of those players, you can see the quality that he has. You can see the energy that he has, you can see that his technical ability is brilliant.

“I just feel his fitness levels weren’t quite up to scratch. And now, because he’s had that run of games, you can see what he’s about. This is the Rodrigo that we signed. I’m so happy for him. He’s looking the real deal now.”

Coming into his own

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Leeds have lacked a real presence upfront in the absence of Patrick Bamford, so Marcelo Bielsa and supporters will have been delighted to see Rodrigo step up in the last few matches.

The 30-year-old arrived at Elland Road last year with plenty of pedigree; he spent time in Real Madrid’s academy, starred for Benfica and Valencia and had earned over 20 caps for the Spanish national team.

He struggled for consistency last season, partly due to injuries, but ended the campaign in fine form, scoring four times in the final four games.

Fans will hope that his latest run of form, which earned him a recall to the Spain squad, is not just another purple patch and that he is able to play a key part in the rest of the campaign.

Particularly if Liverpool target Raphinha leaves Elland Road in January, Rodrigo will be required to take on more of the attacking burden as the season progresses.

In other Leeds United news, David Anderson has revealed what Victor Orta is doing to prepare for the January transfer window.