Leeds star Georginio Rutter under instant pressure after Marsch gamble

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Leeds United’s new recruit, Georginio Rutter, has been put under pressure to provide instant results in front of goal with Rodrigo set for a spell on the sidelines. Manager Jesse Marsch brought the in-form forward on in the FA Cup win over Accrington Stanley last weekend, but fans were dealt a dose of bad news several days later. 

Rodrigo broadly underwhelmed during his first two Premier League seasons at Elland Road, having arrived as a Spain regular and a frequent goalscorer with Valencia. His fortunes changed this campaign, however, with 12 goals in 22 games across all competitions making him the club’s top scorer. 

It therefore sparked confusion when Marsch brought him on against Accrington Stanley last Saturday, with the Whites already 3-0 up and cruising thanks to goals from Jack Harrison, Junior Firpo and Luis Sinisterra. 

The 31-year-old suffered bone and ligament damage to his ankle during the final 20 minutes of the match and the club recently confirmed that he underwent minor surgery which will keep him out of action for two months. 

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That means relegation-threatened Leeds will be without the player, who has scored almost 40 per cent of their Premier League goals so far this season, for a particularly busy period which includes crunch matches against Everton, Southampton and Wolves. 

One of the knock-on effects of Marsch’s gamble is an increase in pressure on Rutter, who arrived from Hoffenheim in the middle of January for a club-record £36million. The boss may have preferred to break him in gently, as a 20-year-old with less than two seasons of top-flight experience under his belt. 

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But Marsch may not have that luxury anymore with Leeds in desperate need of a goalscorer that can step up to the plate. The Whites are only one point above the Premier League relegation zone, having notched just four wins in 19 matches so far this term. 

Aside from Rutter, striker options behind the injured Rodrigo include Patrick Bamford, who appears to be making progress after another injury lay-off, but has still only notched one league goal all season. Wilfried Gnonto has been a bright spark but he is still only 19 years old, and with one league goal to his name so far, Marsch can hardly rely on the wide man to shoulder the burden. 

Rutter scored a respectable eight Bundesliga goals last term but he only managed two during the first half of this season, with the forward commanding such a lofty price tag due to his versatility and overall potential. 

He was chosen to start against Accrington but failed to get on the scoresheet, missing a handful of decent chances during the game. It remains to be seen whether Marsch puts his trust in him to lead the line for the trip to Nottingham Forest on Sunday. 

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