Whelan Exclusive: Third start tipped for Leeds player after Bielsa drops Sheffield United hint
Noel Whelan has tipped Rodrigo to keep his place in the Leeds United starting XI after Pablo Hernandez was ruled out against Sheffield United.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds striker and boyhood fan at Elland Road believes the 28-year-old will have benefitted from a full week of training with his teammates in the build-up to Sunday’s game.
As quoted by Leeds Live at his pre-match press conference, Bielsa hinted he could bring Tyler Roberts in for Rodrigo, with Hernandez set to spend the next two weeks on the sidelines due to injury.
The Spain international was a late replacement in the starting XI against Fulham after his fellow countryman picked up a problem in the pre-game warm-up.
It was his first start in the Premier League and only his second start for the club since he joined from Valencia.
Whelan suggests that the summer signing will be “a lot fresher” after a week without a game and suggests he should keep his place in the starting XI.
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Whelan told Football Insider: “If Pablo’s not fit then it’s another opportunity for Rodrigo to get first-team football with his new teammates.
“He’ll be coming off the back of a week’s training rather than off the back of two games where he played 90 minutes then into a game so he’ll be a lot fresher, another week training with his teammates, working on what the manager wants.
“He’s not going to replace Patrick Bamford, that’s a fact, but he could be that number 10 now that Pablo’s not fit.”
Asked about Hernandez’s fitness, Bielsa was quoted as saying: “Pablo still has two weeks of recovery before he can return.
“The team will largely be the same, only possible alternative will be Roberts instead of Rodrigo.”