Mark Jackson watched his Leeds United Under-23 side go 13 points clear at the top of Premier League 2 Division 2 with only five league games to play – as promotion continues to draw closer. Rodrigo scored an excellent brace as the Whites won 2-0 under the watchful eye of Marcelo Bielsa at Kidderminster Harriers – and here are three talking points from the win.
Charlie Allen performance
Allen, 17, has been in and out of the Under-23 side this season – playing more for the Under-18 team given he is still very young. But on Friday, he might have just convinced Jackson that he belongs in the reserve team with a sparkling performance in the middle of the park.
Alongside Rodrigo, and then Sam Greenwood in front of Nohan Kenneh, Allen played a similar role to that of Mateusz Klich. He kept the ball, offering quality at either end of the pitch and his brilliant performance was summed up with a gorgeous bit of dribbling in midfield (below). A brilliant performance, one that Bielsa would have taken note of.
Quadruple injury boost
It has been a tricky time of late for Leeds, in terms of injuries. At one point, Leeds had Diego Llorente, Robin Koch, Gaetano Berardi, Kalvin Phillips, Adam Forshaw, Rodrigo and Ian Poveda all injured. So, to see four of those seven players feature on Friday is a huge boost for the onlooking Bielsa.
While the most-important one of those seven in Phillips is still a doubt for Monday, the return of Rodrigo is massive for Leeds – and his two goals shows that he has not lost his touch. Greenwood deserves a place on the Leeds bench, while having Poveda and Berardi also getting 45 minutes is important. Good news for Leeds.
Rodrigo looked sharp. Starting in the attacking role alongside Allen, the Spain international looked as though the injury he suffered – believed to be a groin issue – had not affected him. His first goal was pure class. Movement, composure and finish that his younger teammates would have dreamed of. But along with that, Rodrigo showed leadership.
Despite only being at the club for less than 12 months, Rodrigo was giving plenty of advice throughout the game – pointing to teammates and explaining different tactical phases during stoppages in play. It shows that Rodrigo is a team player, and that Leeds are a better side with him in the team – even if his stats have been somewhat criticised at times.