Whelan: Ask 100 Leeds fans and they would 'all say the same' after Roberts debate twist
Tyler Roberts is not dangerous enough when playing as a number 10 for Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa must turn to Rodrigo now he is fit again.
That is according to ex-Leeds forward and boyhood fan Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Roberts started ahead of Rodrigo for the 2-0 defeat to West Ham on Monday evening.
Rodrigo was introduced in place of the 22-year-old Roberts with half an hour remaining in the match.
Roberts has started the last four matches for Leeds while the London Stadium loss was Rodrigo’s first outing since the end of January after recovering from a groin injury.
His future is up in the air going into the summer after enquiries from clubs including Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday, Cardiff City, Preston North End and Bournemouth were knocked back in January.
Whelan observed that Roberts put in a solid performance but claims that Rodrigo is simply a cut above and must be accommodated in the starting XI.
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He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “Roberts in the first half was busy. He gets on the ball. He got that goal and he got himself into the right areas. But he doesn’t get himself into those areas enough.
“That’s my problem. He doesn’t hurt teams enough as a number 10 player. He was there getting on the ball, that’s great. His link-up play at times with Bamford was excellent.
“But if you ask 100 Leeds fans who they would prefer in that position, Rodrigo or Tyler Roberts, they would all say Rodrigo all day long.
“He’s your star signing, your record signing. He’s the one player that if he is fit then you’ve got to have him in your side to give you that extra opportunity.
“Roberts didn’t do anything wrong but I just think it brings a different dimension to the game when Rodrigo’s out there.”
Roberts signed for Leeds from West Brom in January 2018 for £4milion.
Rodrigo meanwhile was a summer recruit from Valencia, setting the club back a record-setting £26m.