Noel Whelan has backed Leeds United forward Rodrigo Moreno to be “crucial” for Marcelo Bielsa in 2021/22 after a “stop-start” debut season.
Prior to his move to England, Rodrigo had spent most of his career with Valencia in La Liga. He joined them in 2014 from Benfica and he featured 220 times for them up until the end of the 2019/20 campaign.
Bielsa‘s side splashed out a club-record fee of £27m to sign the forward ahead of their return to the Premier League.
Rodrigo struggled to hit the ground running for Leeds in the English top flight. He was involved in nine goals from his 26 outings as he played second fiddle to Patrick Bamford for much of the campaign.
The 30-year-old has impressed during pre-season though and he is expected to come good for the Whites in 2021/22.
Whelan was asked about the forward during an interview with Football Insider. He believes that everything that Rodrigo does is “class”:
“I think everyone’s got that expectation on Rodrigo that this is his season.
“Hopefully he starts the season and carries it on free of injury. Last year was a very stop-start season for him.
“I think we could see during those periods at the beginning, when he first came into the side, and especially at the end what a crucial player he’s going to be for Leeds United and why we brought him in to the club.
“His composure on the ball, his composure in front of goal, his cleverness with the assists and linking up play. I think everything about him says: ‘Class’.
“We’ve just got to keep him fit and at the minute he looks very sharp. He’s coming into the season in a good way. Fingers crossed that remains the same leading up to the Manchester United game.”
“Chelsea agreed with Lorient and then asked me, ‘Are you ready?’ But it was 24 hours before the end of the window.
“I said, ‘No, it’s too late, man! If you’d come one or two weeks earlier then I might have said yes. I can’t sign for you so late’.
“It was a difficult decision. Chelsea are a big club. You would ask me, ‘Why not (go)?’.
“But there are lots of keepers in Chelsea’s academy, it’s very hard to grow up there and sometimes you sign and you have to go on loan, things like that.
“It’s better, I think, to work in your club and then sign to be a No 1 at 24, 25. Not at 18 years old.”