Jon Newsome has told BBC Radio Leeds that he thought that Rodrigo was outstanding for Leeds United during their dramatic FA Cup tie, and suggested that the difference between himself and Joe Gelhardt was enormous.
Leeds will breathe a huge sigh of relief after coming from 2-0 down to earn a third round replay at Cardiff City. The Whites made a bright start in South Wales. However, their defending was subsequently calamitous.
Jesse Marsch held off making changes at half-time. But with Leeds starting the second-half no better, Marsch called for Max Wober, Cody Drameh and Rodrigo. And the triple change played a key part in turning the tide.
Rodrigo outstanding for Leeds
Rodrigo got one back with a superb header after some smart work from Sam Greenwood.
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The Spaniard saw a penalty saved after Junior Firpo saw an effort stopped – brilliantly – on the line by a Cardiff hand. But Leeds were able to score a last-gasp equaliser, with Sonny Perkins flicking the ball in.
Rodrigo will be disappointed to not take his tally for the season to 12. But Newsome felt that the 31-year-old can be extremely pleased with the impact that he made against the Bluebirds.
He also suggested that the difference between Rodrigo and Gelhardt – who started the game up front – was noticeable.
“I thought he was outstanding, apart from the penalty miss which, it’s not a great penalty. You probably expect better from him, but he’s only human,” he told BBC Radio Leeds.
“I thought he came on and all of a sudden, we got a purpose, we got somebody up there to play off. And I think unfortunately, it also highlights how lacking Gelhardt is in that role. The difference was enormous when Joffy’s not up there.”
It was a captain’s performance from Rodrigo. He was not wearing the armband, but he inspired the fightback with a few others.
Leeds looked to have a better idea of what to do in the final third with Rodrigo leading the line. And they looked so much more dangerous with the top scorer on the field.
He has been superb all season. And you do get the feeling that Leeds would not have got back into the game had Rodrigo not come on.