By Noel Whelan

19th Jul, 2021 | 6:00pm

Whelan shares excited Rodrigo verdict after 'amazing' Leeds reveal

Noel Whelan has claimed “it is vital” Leeds United striker Rodrigo Moreno has a good pre-season after a stop-start 2020-21 campaign.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the new Whites ambassador expects the 30-year-old’s time away with Spain to stand him in good stead heading into the new season.

Rodrigo arrived at Elland Road in a club-record £27million deal 12 months ago but endured an indifferent first season in English football.

The versatile attacker was unavailable for 12 of last season’s 38 Premier League fixtures because of Covid and injury.

Speaking to club media last week, Rodrigo revealed he is preparing himself “in the best way” to help avoid a repeat of last season’s problems.

When asked by Football Insider‘s Dylan Childs for his assessment of Rodrigo, Whelan said: “Rodrigo is a very important part of this team.

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“He is a bit older than some of the players there. When you are older it is vital that you get through pre-season to make sure you are at the top of your game.

“You need to get your fitness levels right, especially when you play in Marcelo Bielsa side which is very fitness-based.

“It was a bit stop and start for him last season. I think being in Spain’s training camp ahead of the Euros will have done him the world of good as will the way he finished last season.

“Sometimes it takes players a season to feel bedded in. It must’ve been difficult moving to another country last year. You only feel happy when you are playing football and he spent a lot of time on the sidelines.

“The whole club hope he can have a strong pre-season and then hit the ground running against Manchester United. He showed how important he is. He also brings so much experience to the side.”

In other news, Maguire drops verdict as Leeds chief Radrizzani’s £43m bid rejected.