The 30-year-old swapped Spanish top flight club Valencia for Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds last summer, but has struggled to make an impact at Elland Road so far.
Having faced fitness issues, Rodrigo’s Premier League playing time for the Whites has been restricted to just over 1,000 minutes, during which he has contributed to four goals.
With the season nearing an end, former Leeds star Whelan has explained that the Whites should hand Rodrigo more starts in their final run of games to help him regain form.
The Englishman pointed out that the Spain national team will want him fit and ready for the European Championship in the summer and urged Leeds to play their record signing more often.
“I think you just have to throw him in there in the deep end and give him 60 minutes and build it up to 65, 70 minutes because not only will we want that – a fighting, fit Rodrigo – so do Spain when they go into the Euros“, Whelan said on BBC Radio Leeds following the win over Sheffield United.
“They are going to want him to be playing regularly so when they go into it he is fit, he is ready to go straight away from the off in a big competition.
“So I think what would benefit us for him now is just to say ‘You know what, he is the record signing, get him in there.’“
Whelan also claimed that some of the Whites’ forthcoming games are suitable for Rodrigo to make an impact in.
“We’ve got games coming up that would really suit him as well“, the Englishman said.
Rodrigo’s last league start came against Newcastle in January, but the Spaniard will be keen to stake a claim for a starting role in the Whites’ upcoming trip to Manchester City.