Nigel Martyn has told LeedsUnited.News that Rodrigo and Raphinha enjoy playing together after the latter assisted Rodrigo for his fourth goal of the season on Saturday afternoon. Coming off the bench, Brazil-born Spain international Rodrigo slammed home our third goal of the game against Tottenham – but Martyn reckons attacking midfielder Roberts will have been disappointed to see the club-record signing net against Spurs.
Leeds took their points tally to a huge 50 points after 35 Premier League fixtures with a somewhat suprising win over Tottenham. Stuart Dallas opened the scoring from close range after some woeful Spurs defending, before Patrick Bamford left Eric Dier flat-footed to tap home. Rodrigo ended the rout, with Son Heung-min netting for Spurs. Tottenham did have a goal narrowly disallowed, with Harry Kane also hitting the bar.
But Leeds deserved to win largely because of Tottenham’s woeful defending. Eric Dier was at fault for all three – failing to stop Jack Harrison’s cross for the first, too stationary for the second and making the wrong decision to close Raphinha for the third. It was Raphinha’s first game back after injury and Martyn commented on the blossoming relationship between the two attackers – stating that clearly like playing together.
“Yeah, hopefully he will come good next season,” Martyn told LUN, when asked if Rodrigo will improve next season. “It was good to see Raphinha on the pitch and it was a good ball – and a decent finish. You’d expect him to score but that will be good for his confidence going forward. It is where you play him, he’s not as mobile as Bamford up there and Bielsa only likes one up there.
“Rodrigo will have to play in the more attacking-midfield role. They’re quality players and they like playing with each other because they appreciate the skill of each other – they will look for opportunities created by the other one. You can afford to have two or three like them in their attacking set-up.”
But one player that might be frustrated to see the connection between Raphinha and Rodrigo – and will certainly be annoyed that Rodrigo netted, is Roberts. The Wales international continues to search for his first Premier League goal and while the ex-West Brom man sparkled when first coming into the starting XI – including a stunning display against Chelsea – he has since struggled to get to replicate that form.
Martyn commented on the competition for places in the Leeds squad, and reckons £4million Leeds signing (Mail) Roberts will have been “disappointed” to see have seen Rodrigo find the back of the net – because it might be that the Spain international replaces him ahead of Saturday’s trip to Turf Moor to take on Burnley.
“They [Rodrigo and Raphinha] will be reminded of their defensive responsibilities but to be fair to them both, they want to that side of it as well. If they’re prepared to do both of those roles it is good, because there is competition for places,” Martyn said. “Tyler Roberts is back into the starting line-up and playing that attacking-midfield role. He will be the most-disappointed that Rodrigo has come on and scored because it might be his place that goes next.”