Rodrigo vitally important for Leeds United, can now be spark for Javi Gracia - BT Sport pundit
Rodrigo “could be vital” for a Leeds United team struggling for goals since the arrival of Javi Gracia as manager, according to Tony Dorigo.
The Whites have scored just once in three games under the new manager, Junior Firpo’s late winner against Southampton on 25 February, but are set to welcome back their top scorer from injury.
Rodrigo was once an expensive misfit at Elland Road but 12 goals this season in all competitions has left BT Sport pundit Dorigo hoping that he can be the difference under Gracia in the relegation battle, but knows others must step up.
In his Yorkshire Evening Post column on Wednesday morning Dorigo said: “We need a spark and we’re searching for who that’s going to be. Rodrigo could be vital.
“When he first came he showed some flashes here and there but was quite inconsistent and we always thought he wasn’t our out-and-out goalscorer.
“This season his play has been very good and he’s scored the bulk of our goals, so he has become vitally important.
“It will be good from a psychological point of view to get him, our top goalscorer, back on the pitch but it’s not just down to one player.
“There are plenty of players in the team and in the squad who need to come up with solutions.”
If it’s not one thing it’s the other with Leeds United, and after having a defence that was barely fit for the description for so long they now look much stronger at the back.
Rodrigo broke out in a big way under Jesse Marsch, and was arguably the brightest spot of the American’s whole time in charge.
And when the likes of Crysencio Summerville and Willy Gnonto were also chipping in earlier this season the attack was looking extremely potent.
Prior to the World Cup there was a four-game stretch in the Premier League where the Whites scored 11 times, picking up their last two victories before finally ending the long winless run against the Saints last week.
Gracia would love to have something of that attacking output, and the return of Rodrigo could be the answer, with the Spaniard scoring five times during the bountiful run between 23 October and 12 November.
The new manager arrived in far from ideal circumstances, and the Southampton win was crucial, but he is going to need a few more very soon with the team only outside the relegation zone on goal-difference, so he will hope that having the top-scorer available to him for the first time can be the difference.
In other Leeds United news, a first-team regular looks set for a cut-price exit as the club follows the same pattern.