Jesse Marsch has told The Athletic how he has said to Rodrigo that he wishes that he met him at 18, as he believes that the Leeds United forward could have become one of the best players in the world.

Of course, we have seen a completely different Rodrigo this season – in front of goal. His first two years at Elland Road were incredibly frustrating. And he only showed glimpses of his quality following his club-record move.

Marsch Rodrigo
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

However, something has definitely clicked for the Spaniard this season. He has scored nine goals in the Premier League, topping our scoring charts by some distance.

Marsch believes Rodrigo could have been one of the best players in the world

It has not been the perfect campaign for Rodrigo. However, Leeds are unlikely to be in serious trouble this term if he can maintain anything like his current scoring rate.

Marsch Rodrigo
Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Marsch is clearly not surprised by Rodrigo’s form however. The Leeds boss was sharing with The Athletic the importance of getting to know players to get the very best out of them. And he shared how far he believes Rodrigo could have gone had they started working together much sooner.

“We have Rodrigo at Leeds, and he’s 31 and I’ve even had a conversation with him at one point and said it’s too bad I didn’t know him when he was 18 because I could have helped make him one of the best players in the world — I truly believe that,” he told The Athletic.

“But in the process at Leeds, we’re still uncovering new potentials for him and he’s committed and adapted incredibly well. But to do that I’ve had to really get to know Rodrigo as a person and what makes him tick.

“What are his vulnerabilities? What are his insecurities? What things make him stronger? What are the things he likes?”

Leeds boss getting much more out of Spaniard

Obviously, it is a huge statement from Marsch. But Rodrigo is someone who has led the line for Spain. He is a world-class footballer.

Perhaps he has not realised his full potential. But then, he would not have signed for Leeds upon our promotion had he become one of the world’s best.

It is a really interesting statement from Marsch. And it would be fascinating to know how Rodrigo reacted to being told that. He may have been slightly disappointed to learn that some feel that there was so much more to come from him – given the stage of his career he is at.

The good news for Leeds and Rodrigo is something has changed this season.

If Rodrigo credits Marsch for helping with that transformation, he may also now be wondering what could have been had they started working together sooner.

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