It’s safe to say that the beginning of Georginio Rutter’s life at Leeds United was far from ideal.
Brought in during the January transfer window for a club record £35m, the former Hoffenheim forward joined a club sinking rapidly down the Premier League table and struggled to find his feet during his first half-season in West Yorkshire.
Leeds would eventually be relegated to the Championship, with Rutter being mostly a bit-part player during the Whites’ crucial relegation run-in. Sam Allardyce – a figure renowned for his relegation ‘escape act’ – failed to repeat the trick at Leeds, and declared that Rutter was more of a future prospect than a figure who could stop the club falling through the top-flight exit door in the here and now.
The summer transfer window, as it so frequently does, brought speculation about the future of several of Leeds’ brightest talents – Rutter among them. And, despite reported interest from top clubs in Europe, the Whites managed to retain the services of the young Frenchman when the window had slammed shut.
Now, with two assists and two goals to his name in six starts since the beginning of the Championship season, Leeds fans are starting to see the talent that their club invested so heavily in in January.
Rutter’s last appearance in his side’s resounding 3-0 victory over Watford last weekend, in particular, was one filled with moments to supply the 21-year-old’s personal highlights reel.
In a recent interview with Sky Sports, Rutter credits Whites manager Daniel Farke – himself only appointed in the summer – with giving him the platform on which to build his recent impressive performances.
“It was difficult when I arrived last season, and the boss knew it was tough for me. He knew me from Germany and he’s given me a lot of confidence. We speak a lot about our plans and structure. He’s a very good coach.
“It’s tricky when you come for a certain coach, and then he leaves and it changes again. The adaptation was difficult and I didn’t play a lot.
“When I was in Germany the pressure was not like this. I don’t think I showed the best of myself last year. Everyone spoke about the price tag and that added pressure.
“I’m the same guy with the same mentality, but it’s a different team now. Now if I miss a chance he tells me it’s okay. I’m playing more minutes and more games, and I’m happy to be working hard and to be involved with goals and assists.”
As for where Rutter’s concerns lie regarding his current club, there is just one aim. To reclaim Leeds’ position in the Premier League at the first time of asking.
The Frenchman knows that the gruelling nature of England’s second-tier makes this a tough ask, but that having a strong mentality and being focused on the goal will help his side over the line.
“It’s the target for everybody. We’ve had some good games, but we have to continue in the way we did against the likes of Millwall and Watford.
“Mentality is key, and we have to stay focused until the end.
“I don’t think about anything else. My only dream right now is winning the Championship trophy with Leeds.”