By Noel Whelan

7th Mar, 2021 | 8:30pm

Whelan verdict on Rodrigo starting for Leeds v West Ham after big development

Noel Whelan has tipped Rodrigo to start on the Leeds United bench against West Ham after starring for the Under-23s. 

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted Marcelo Bielsa needed to manage the Spaniard’s game time after a month out of action.

The 29-year-old stepped up his recovery from a groin injury with 45 minutes for the Under-23s on Friday.

The Spain international stole the show in the first half against Wolves as he scored both goals in the 2-0 win.

He now over 72 hours to work on his fitness ahead of Monday night’s Premier League clash against West Ham.

However, Whelan suggested Rodrigo would have to settle for a place on the bench despite his return to playing.

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Speaking about Leeds’ injured stars – Rodrigo, Kalvin Phillips and Jamie Shackleton – Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Whether they played today, I very much doubt they’ll be starting on Monday.

“I think you’ve gonna be really cautious about those three names especially two of them, Rodrigo and Kalvin Phillips. We know how important those two players are to the side.

“We can’t be rushing them back, we’ve still got loads of games to play and points to play for. Those two players, when they come back, they’ve got to be right until the end of the season.

“Not just for two or three games and then back onto the treatment table. We need to have them right and ready to finish the season and ready to go into the Euros. That’s what they’ll be looking for.

Rodrigo has missed Leeds’ last seven Premier League games through injury.

He has played a total of 18 times and scored three goals in the top-flight so far.

In other news, Whelan has urged Leeds United to hijack £15million transfer hunt.