Phil Hay: Bielsa wants to make Rodrigo as Leeds No 10 work
Leeds suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool on Sunday, with Rodrigo hauled off at half-time after an uninspiring 45 minutes.
The Spaniard missed a fine chance to put the hosts ahead earlier in the game, and he struggled with the task of playing as the Whites number 10 again.
According to The Athletic’s journalist Phil Hay, Marcelo Bielsa hopes playing Rodrigo as an attacking midfielder behind the striker is an experiment that works out at Leeds.
He wrote in his post-match column on the website: “The persistence with Rodrigo at No 10, an experiment the manager wants to make work, is struggling to bear fruit and Bielsa, having fought the Spaniard’s corner publicly, found himself substituting the guy again at half-time yesterday.”
Time to ditch the plan?
Rodrigo excelled as a striker for Valencia before his move to Elland Road in the summer of 2020, and while he often played as a winger in Spain, he has featured as a number 9 in the majority of the 25 caps he has earned for his country.
Patrick Bamford remains the first-choice striker at Leeds, and that will not be changing anytime soon.
Bielsa also has his favourite wide men in Raphinha and Jack Harrison but sticking with Rodrigo as a number 10 has not worked out well so far.
Pablo Hernandez’s exit was supposed to force the Argentine into bringing in a direct replacement, but the Spaniard’s form towards the end of last term appeared to change all that.
While Rodrigo scored only three times and weighed in with one assist in his first 22 Premier League games, he was on fire as the campaign drew to an end, scoring four goals and assisting another in the last four fixtures of the season.
He has struggled to replicate those heroics in the same role where he shone last term, and it could be time to ditch this experiment for good.
In other Leeds news, Orta contacted PL giants about Whites loan deal for exceptional centre-mid