Leeds United manager Daniel Farke has labelled centre-back Joe Rodon a ‘warrior’ after his latest superb performance in Sunday’s 3-0 win against Millwall at The Den.
Rodon, who signed for the Whites on loan from Tottenham prior in the summer transfer window, has been one of Farke’s stand-out performers in the opening weeks of the season.
But his showing during Sunday’s convincing victory in East London was the highlight of his time at Elland Road so far, with the Welsh international winning twice as many ariel duels as any other player.
Rodon led the way to help Leeds keep two consecutive clean sheets for the first time in 17 months, a showing that saw him reserved for special praise by his manager after the game.
“Millwall had pressure on the build-up, but obviously our last line of defence saved us several times and Joe belongs to that,” said Farke.
“Obviously he had to be there and with many clearances, they had an aerial threat which he dealt with and that led to him getting a little cut under his eyebrow.
“But he was willing to go back on and he showed a warrior mentality and this is exactly what you need if you want to be successful, especially in such a tough game. I think he was excellent.”
Who plays when everyone is fit?
The Leeds manager now faces a tough choice in the coming weeks with Rodon and Pascal Struijk forming a superb partnership at the back together – leading to back-to-back clean sheets.
However, club captain Liam Cooper is set to return from injury very soon and Farke will have to decide if he sticks with Rodon and Struijk or throws his skipper back into the back four.
As it stands right now, it would be hard to argue against Rodon and Struijk keeping their places in the side and Cooper could find himself fit but still not on the pitch – something that nobody could have predicted before the season.
But with loan man Rodon having a Ben White-esque impact so far, and Struijk finding his form again after a tough couple of seasons, Leeds now have a luxury of options at the back.
Charlie Cresswell is also in the mix, having featured several times this season at centre-back, leaving Farke with strength in depth at the back, something that hasn’t been seen at Elland Road for some time.