'He's not going to be same player...' - Whelan frets over update on 'Fantastic' Leeds star
Noel Whelan has admitted he is worried about how long it will take Rodrigo to rebuild his match fitness after his self-isolation away from the Leeds United squad.
The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has revealed his disappointment at the Spain forward’s absence after his “fantastic” start to live at Elland Road.
As relayed by journalist Phil Hay, Marcelo Bielsa confirmed at his press conference that the 29-year-old will be evaluated next week after his period of self-isolation due to a positive Covid-19 test.
From Bielsa's presser – Rodrigo obviously out of the Palace trip. Will be evaluated next week. Llorente still missing too. Raphinha has a chance but a decision will be made on him tomorrow. #lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) November 5, 2020
The summer signing featured in all six of the Whites’ opening league games before he was forced to sit out against Leicester City.
Whelan has insisted it will take time for Rodrigo to get back up to speed and that he will be a long way off the required levels when he does eventually return to action.
Whelan told Football Insider: “I think it will worry most people – 14 days is a long time to be isolating and not really joining in any football.
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“You know how quickly you can lose a little bit of fitness and match fitness with just a couple of days off, so 14 is a very long time to be out, especially when he was just getting going and getting into his stride as well and looking the player that we knew we bought.
“I think he’ll be able keep himself fit in certain ways, but I think when it comes to match fitness, that’s completely different. It’s a different kind of level of fitness that you need and, you know, he’s going to drop that level by quite some margin.
“Really, when you think about 14 days with no training, no football, none of that match fitness, those bursts of speed and pace and that touch you have – what we were seeing from him was fantastic.
“So yeah, he’s not gonna be the same player, straight away, it is going to take time and, you know, like I say – two days out of football you lose a little bit of fitness, 14 days, yeah, it’s not going to click straight away for him, he’s gonna have to do a little bit of work on that.”
In other Leeds United news, a Football Insider pundit claims Radrizzani has laid the groundwork for drastic change at Elland Road.