Leeds United news: Phil Hay explains why Marcelo Bielsa isn't starting Rodrigo

Leeds United attacker Rodrigo

It’s rare that a club-record signing struggles to get into the starting XI but that’s the exact predicament Rodrigo finds himself in at Leeds United.

Rodrigo has been at Elland Road for more than three months now, but is yet to firmly etch his place into Marcelo Bielsa’s first choice line-up. 

The Spaniard was recently sidelined after testing positive for coronavirus and he has had to be content with substitute appearances since he returned to fitness. 

Leeds have carried a renewed goal threat every time Rodrigo has been introduced into proceedings in their last three Premier League outings, and his notable impact from the bench is forcing some fans to ponder when they will next see him in action from the outset. 

In light of Leeds’ 3-1 defeat away at Chelsea on Saturday, one fan asked The Athletic’s Phil Hay when he believes the Whites faithful can expect to see Rodrigo from the start alongside the increasingly impressive Raphinha.


Answering in his post-match Q&A column, per The Athletic, Hay offered his thoughts on Bielsa’s selection policy and alluded to the manager’s reluctance to tinker with a functioning system.

“The only deal is that in the past two games, the system has worked well and Bielsa isn’t minded to change it. It’s no slight on Rodrigo. When you created as many chances as Leeds did at Goodison, would you shuffle it around? Don’t get me wrong, he’s looks like an exceptional talent but Bielsa always goes with a team, not individuals.”

GIVEMESPORT’S Jack Saville says…

This is textbook Bielsa. 

The Argentine manager has consistently shown a reluctance to integrate new signings into his starting line-up shortly after their arrival. 

Helder Costa had to bide his time in waiting for a regular opportunity in the 2019/20 campaign, while Patrick Bamford played second fiddle to Kemar Roofe prior to his cruciate ligament injury at the start of the 2018/19 season. 

Both Rodrigo and the Leeds supporters will need to be patient this season, but there’s no doubt the 25-cap Spain international will get a chance to etch his name onto the teamsheet as the season unfolds. 

Leeds were impressive against both Arsenal and Everton and, as Hay says, the selected players didn’t give Bielsa a stark reason to alter his system or personnel. 

On the back of the result against Chelsea, however, the revered manager may be inclined to consider starting Rodrigo against West Ham United on Friday. 

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