By Craig Scott

21st Aug, 2022 | 10:17am

Phil Hay: All signs point towards Rodrigo starting as striker in Leeds United v Chelsea

Rodrigo looks set to start up front for Leeds United when they take on Chelsea at Elland Road on Sunday, according to The Athletic journalist Phil Hay.

Writing on The Athletic’s website ahead of the game on 21 August, Hay reported that Patrick Bamford is a doubt for the clash and Rodrigo, 31, will move into the striker role in a major change as it’ll mean the Spaniard will need replacing.

However, while it is understood that Joe Gelhardt is fit, in-form Rodrigo looks as though he’ll be spearheading Jesse Marsch’s attack against the Londoners.

Hay said: “All signs point to Rodrigo starting up front again after three goals in two games. Would that be the right call? And what of Chelsea?

“How do Leeds get at them and, probably more to the point, how do Leeds stop players like Reece James getting at them out wide?”

Perfect

It seems odd to say this but we’re thrilled that Rodrigo will be starting up front against Chelsea.

Of course, we won’t expect fireworks from the Brazil-born Spain international.

While he’s scored three goals in two matches, those goals were against Wolves and Southampton, neither of which are expected to pull up any trees in the Premier League this season.

Rodrigo deserves the shot though but ultimately, we shouldn’t be relying on him to play up front when he’s struggled so badly over the last couple of years to find the back of the net.

Leeds need a new striker.

Patrick Bamford’s Leeds career has seen him be an unreliable goalscorer in the Championship and unreliable with fitness both in the second-tier and in the Premier League.

We cannot rely on him to play every week – let alone score many goals.

Was that 2020/21 Premier League season a one-off for the England international?

We might not only need a back-up option for Bamford. We might need a succession plan.

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